06 January 2006
this is what we heard our mother scream from the downstairs bathroom on christmas morning thirty years ago. I was only five but knew something big was about to go down. I remember being scared but also a little concerned about the status of the christmas presents that lay waiting magically for us under the tree. this 'bleeding' that my mom claimed she was experiencing... did this mean we weren't going to get to open any presents? or would we just have to endure some sort of momentary delay? the details are fuzzy after that. there was the dramatic declaration of blood, the wondering about the presents and then a mad jumble of events. in no particular order: grandparents were called, you (dear baby brother von) were born (christmas day!), grandparents arrived, gifts were (tentatively) torn into, the end. a week later, my mother came home, weak and smiling. I remember that her face looked so shiny to me that day. and then finally, under mom and dad's watchful eyes, I held you in my lap. you were like a little giant, not at all like the delicate baby dolls I had been practicing on. pretty rad christmas present-- better even than the holly hobby colorforms, I promise.
sadly, my wishes are belated. and I suppose this is what it has been like to celebrate a birthday on christmas each year. I've been in the front row since the beginning, brother, so you think I would've known better. still, I can't help but celebrate you. welcome to a brand new age bracket. I remember thinking that I would be SO OLD when you turned thirty and now here we are.
oh yes, you were leaving trails of powdered sugar all around the house and always always stirring things up. you and your infamous parachute pants (weren't they really just BMX pants?), shocking and wowing the kin with your b-boy moves. funniest kid ever and so stinking bright.
though really- my words here can't even begin to compare with what you gave me on my 30th. do you recall? all of us sitting on the floor, barefoot around that big table at the imperial fez, eating moroccan food with our hands and watching belly dancers jiggle and gyrate. when all the drunk stupid people around us from all the sad little office christmas parties threatened to cheapen the vibe of the night, you got up in front of everyone, cleared your throat and silenced the room. you announced to the checked out crowd that it was your sister's 30th birthday and that you had a gift to present to me. you proceeded (in a loud and confident voice) to perform eric b. and rakim's classic rap 'paid in full'. it was at once the most awkward, most beautiful thing ever and one of the most memorable things about that night.
I wish I could reciprocate, I do. all the same, happy 30th. just look at you now.