Not too long ago I was going through one of the hardest years of my life. I was back at home, unsure of the future, working a job I absolutely hated, and living in a town I cared very little for. I remember coming home at night, exhausted, angry, frustrated and missing my friends, and then crawling in bed. I wanted to be alone in my misery. Then suddenly, there’d be a slight knock on my door, and a soft voice would say: “banana?”
I’d reply with a grunt, and Jonny would come in and lay in bed with me. Snuggling, we’d call it. We would lay there quietly, watching tv, me playing with his hair, twirling the strands around my fingers. Sometimes I’d try to make Jonny feel uncomfortable and I’d ask him how many girlfriends he had. He’d give a little laugh, already expecting those types of question from me, and say “none.” I’d pretend I didn’t think that was true.
Suddenly, the door would open again, this time without a knock. It’s Sergio. Seeing Jonny and I snuggling, Serg would say: “Hey! What are you guys doing?” And then he’d proceed to jump smack in the middle of the bed, between Jonny and I.
And then I would complain.
I would complain about the two of them and their invasion of my privacy. I’d tell Sergio to knock next time, tell them both to stop talking during the tv show, ask them to give me more space in my own bed, and eventually I’d kick them both out of my room so I could go to sleep. Of course they knew me too well to take any of it personally. They somehow understood I was just hiding behind my tough-girl mask, the one that I always put on when sad and frustrated. And they knew me well enough to never actually listen to my requests to leave me alone, because they knew something I hadn’t quite yet realized then: I needed them in order to feel better. I needed their invasion of my privacy and their laughter and hugs. I needed to be suffocated with love.
I loved those nights, spent in bed with my two brothers. And now I realize they were precisely what got me through that entire year.