When I was a little girl I had a stuffed seal. It had pure white fur that started soft but quickly grew matted and tacky with tears and slobber and food remnants and dirt. I remember a coal-black nose and dark, half-globe eyes that were once shiny as obsidian but transformed to a gray matte with time. It was the right size to rest my chin on while I held it to my heart with small arms.
In short – I loved the absolute hell out of that sucker. It was a soft and beautiful sponge for my love and I allowed it to soak me up.
My little brother on the other hand, had Batman. Not stuffed, not small. Batman was a full 16 inches of hard plastic and polyester cape. His ears pointed and sharp like a cattle prod my brother used to stab people in the ass, because, you know…butts LOL.
But he held Batman to his chest as I held my seal. He cried into his cape as I cried into that fur. And he took Batman to bed. And into the car. And on aimless walks through the wilderness of our backyard.
I’ve always seen this as yet another way my brother and I are opposites. The girl who preferred the soft white seal. The boy who preferred the dark, plastic superhero.
I’m not sure what this narrative serves. Seeing us as so opposite.
As adults we have a near non-existent relationship that is made no closer by attempts at birthday cards where we pass back and forth the same $50 Amazon e-gift card across the years, the failed rendezvous to celebrate the births of new children, holidays where nothing is shared but polite chit chat, the type I typically share with grocery store cashiers. I have carried all these years a fear, a shame, that this makes me a bad person. That I have failed in my duties as a sister, as the eldest, to bring us together, to make a shared narrative of our often sad and uncomfortable history, to make something whole and beautiful out of the broken past.
But perhaps this year is the time to let go of the idea of this particular failure. Perhaps what the years have shown is that our journeys, at least for now, need to be separate. That, in these times, meaning is best derived in our own space, on our own time, in our own, separate, ways.
And perhaps it is also time to let go of the idea that we are so opposite. I loved a white seal and he loved a plastic Batman. But we both loved. And cried. And slept. And journeyed. And perhaps that’s the tie that binds. And right now that’s enough for me.
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This amigurumi Batman was made freehand with a US 7/4.5mm crochet hook and small amounts of Caron Simply Soft yarn. Facial and emblem details are made with felt and hand sewn.