I was here first. That is my first hazy recollection of meeting my brother, when I was four years old and quite abruptly no longer the baby of the family. My mother asked me if I wanted to hold him. I don't remember making a face, but I do remember declining.
Those four years are the only years where it was even imaginable that I would happier alone than with my little brother. Even with the age difference, we were often mistaken for twins, something that initially horrified me and later made me feel proud. I wanted to be like my little brother, because he wanted to be like me but he was better at it. When he tried out for plays, he was the star. When he performed musically, he didn't just sing; he accompanied himself on piano, guitar or drums. All three if he had a loop pedal that day.
He was the funniest person I ever met, which is absolutely galling, since that was supposed to be my job. I wish I could give you examples of his wit, but they're all highly inappropriate. Although he did once play the role of the baby Jesus in a nativity play at the age of 19, so maybe that's all you really need to know.
If Casey were here right now, he would remind me of all of his other charming qualities. His ability to quote the Star Wars movies from memory, his decades-long fashion choice of keeping a weathered copy of the U.S. Constitution in his back pocket, oh, and his master's degree in education and his subsequent lifelong achievement of molding young minds to think critically about their social and political role in the light of recent history. He loved reminding me of that.
I don't remember those first four years I missed having a brother, but I can't imagine the rest of this life without him. For those who knew him, he was a brilliant teacher, a talented musician, a loving brother, and the best friend anyone could have.
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