A brother? I groan – outwardly. I don’t even try to hide it. I tilt my head backwards and can feel my straight hair resting on the top of my back. I like the sensation, so I whip my head back and forth so I can feel the short silk on my bare shoulders.
My face transforms into a scrunched-up puppy dogface; I can feel my eyes and frown grow bigger with almost no effort.
My mom looks into my enlarged hazel eyes and forces a smile on her face. I can tell it’s forced because of her unusually high eyebrows.
“Sarah, we did this for you, so you could have a friend! Pretty soon, you will have a new best friend! This is exciting…”
She wraps her arms around me and pulls me into the folds of her torso. I let my bangs cover my eyes and sit there amid the comfy-mom-oasis and think about my options.
“I already have a best friend,” I blurt out, looking at her upside down from her lap.
“I know Rj is your best friend, Sarah, but you can always have more than one-“
“No you can’t.”
I feel the hot breeze of my mom’s exasperated sigh on my forehead. I suck in my cheeks and refuse to move. I feel safe in my little haven, but suddenly she shifts her legs and I feel like I’m on a boat rocking in the ocean. She bites her lip and I wonder why. I reach my hand and touch her tummy; maybe I can push him away, to some other Mom.
Three was the perfect number for my family: Daddy, Mommy, and Sarah.
I was Daddy’s little princess. For my fourth birthday party, he had cut up five different cardboard boxes (much bigger than me) and turned them into magical castles. All day my friends and I had galloped between castles acting like the princesses that we truly were.
On Wednesdays, my mommy would take me to Dutch Wonderland. We would spend the entire day together going on the merry-go-round, and the train, and the bumper cars. I would always run ahead of her, laughing, and she would yell after me to slow down while chasing me. I loved the way that she threw her blonde curls back when she laughed and when she talked to me, her blue eyes would shine.
These were my parents.
Who would this stranger be? What changes would he bring?
The next few months passed quickly and soon my mommy’s tummy was swollen. It looked like she had eaten a hot air balloon. She walked very slowly and soon we had to stop our Dutch Wonderland trips altogether because she couldn’t walk through the park, nonetheless chase me.
Soon came the week we were supposed to get my brother.
One morning I woke up on my green and white striped sheets and was staring at the ceiling, trying to make constellations from the plaster, when my dad came in and sat on the edge of my bed. My bed was so little that his 6’3” frame slanted it, and my body was rolled over to him. He stroked my hair with the hand that had the big gold ring on it and I looked up at him, my eyes squinty. My dad never woke me up.
“When are we going to the hospital?” I said.
My dad didn’t respond for a minute and then said “Honey, we’re going to go to the hospital sometime in the next few days but you are going on a fun vacation to Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house.”
They were shipping me away. They would have a new baby soon, and they didn’t even care about me anymore. I pushed every whimper and tear out of me and gave him a nice and long puppy dogface stare down.
“I don’t want to go,” I said. I pouted.
“I know, Honey, but Mommy and Daddy might be in the hospital for a long time and we want you to be comfortable-“
“I’m comfortable here.”
“When we all get back, you will have a little brother! Isn’t that exciting?”
Later that day I packed up my Simba backpack for my vacation at my grandparent’s house. I made sure to pack my stuffed Simba, some bubbles, my sneakers and a pair of underwear. I also grabbed my pillow: who knows if my grandparents would have extras?
The car ride to my grandparent’s house was silent. I was plotting a quiet revenge. I was sad that I was not even five and my parents were already done with me. We arrived at our destination, my grandparent’s brick townhouse. In the townhouse was everything American that you could ever imagine. Cute little navy stars hovered above red rocking chairs. There were also little white baby angels on every surface. They were all doing different things. Some were sledding and others were cuddling with dogs. When I was three I was told not to touch them because they would break.
My favorite thing about the house, though, was the train. There was a model train whose track went all the way around the top of the living room. There were houses all lined up along the tracks and at night they lit up. The first thing I did, after hugging my grandparents, and sprinting up the stairs leaving my dad in my dust, was to go check out the train.
My grandparents came to find me and embraced me. I was trapped between their two torsos. I mimicked fainting and fell onto the plush brown carpet.
A few hours later, camped in front of the television with Simba and some orange juice, my grandparents approached me.
“Sarah, your new brother, Adam, has a present for you” my grandmother said, timidly, as she slowly handed me a doll I had been dying to have.
“How did he know I wanted this doll?” was all I could think to say.