“Ha ha, I’m taller than you,” Jadon snickered at Landon, his six-year-old twin.
Landon sighed, staring at the markings on either side of the door frame in their bedroom. “That’s okay, Jadon. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be taller,” he responded in his quiet, gentle voice.
Landon touched each mark their mother had made since they were two years old. Jadon had always been taller. They weren’t identical twins. In fact, they didn’t resemble much at all. Jadon was dark and tall like their father, and Landon was fair and petite like their mother. Jadon’s personality was also like their father; gregarious, outspoken, competitive, bossy, and just a tad arrogant.
Landon was quiet, gentle, happy to be a follower and not a leader, tender-hearted and kind. He loved to read and Jadon loved competitive sports and games. Their personalities were worlds apart.
The years passed quickly, unless you asked Jadon, who thought time dragged by. He was impatient and found it difficult to wait for anything. Landon just took things in stride.
It wasn’t just their height Jadon gloated about. Although he loved his brother, he enjoyed pointing out his many achievements to Landon. He was better at sports, more popular, and felt superior in every way to Landon. He even considered his physical stature superior to his brother. He was taller, stronger, and better looking.
“How can you read all the time, Landon? It would drive me absolutely bonkers. Hey, why don’t you drop the book and come to the beach with me and my friends?” The boys were teenagers now, and Jadon always had a full social calendar.
Sighing, Landon set his book down. “I don’t fit in with your friends, Jadon, and you know it. I’d have a miserable time, and so would you. You’d get mad when I couldn’t keep up with your activities. Besides, I’m going with some of my friends to work on our science project.”
Jadon laughed as he tossed a pillow at Landon’s head. “You’re such a loser sometimes. I can’t believe we came from the same gene pool. You have the dullest life. You know, you could lift weights, work out some, build up your physique. Enjoy some of things I do. Loser!” Although Jadon was teasing, there was an undercurrent that said he meant it, and Landon knew it.
“Go away, Jadon. Go with your friends, and leave me alone. According to you, everyone’s a loser that doesn’t measure up to your standards.” Landon smiled to soften his words. “I do love you, though,” he added, his eyes a pool of emotion.
“See, see! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t ever say that kinda dumb stuff to me in front of my friends. I love you, too, but I’m not shouting it from the rooftop. Don’t embarrass yourself by saying that to me in public, EVER. I mean it. My friends would laugh you into tomorrow.”
More time passed, the boys grew distant from each other, each measuring success according to their own standard. Jadon became a fireman, ruggedly handsome, strong and muscular. Landon became a college professor, dabbling in writing as a hobby, hoping to one day be an author.
They got along well, and interacted at family functions. Sometimes Jadon looked with mild disdain upon his brother, failing to understand his passions in life. Landon always viewed his brother with pride and respect. They usually struggled to find common ground for conversation unless it concerned their wives or children.
It was in their fortieth year that calamity fell. Landon seemed to catch every virus, germ, and disease floating around, leaving him frail and sickly in appearance. This did not stop him from tackling life with patient gusto.
Jadon developed physical ailments finally diagnosed as kidney failure. Months of dialysis eventually brought him to the point of needing a kidney transplant. Without hesitation, Landon offered one of his kidneys.
Sullen and angry that life had dealt him this blow, Jadon refused Landon’s offer. “Look at us,” he said with a touch of sarcasm. “We don’t look alike, our physical build is different. You wouldn’t even be a match. Go away, Landon.”
But Landon was a match. Despite Jadon’ protests, the transplant went through. A year later, the brothers were healthy and active, and their love for one another deeper, almost palpable.
Jadon learned the measure of a man is not in his accomplishments, deeds, or prowess. The measure of a man is his heart.
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