She watches them out of the corner of her eye. Two boys – one older, one younger – blend into the crowd of children running, dancing, and playing among the families, couples, and friends who have gathered in the park for the summer concert.
She watches the boys with her head half toward her friend who is commenting on the weather, the band, or the crowd. But she is not really listening. She is captivated by those boys.
They cavort with the other kids, caught up in a rowdy game of tag or some such childhood sport. The younger one struggles slightly to keep up with the older kids, always a step or two behind, but he perseveres by intently studying and following the older boy’s every move.
The band switches songs and plays louder. More children collect toward the front of the stage, but the two boys continue their game of running and chasing, running and chasing.
She watches as the younger boy momentarily gets lost in the throngs of children. He scans the crowd, first with annoyance and then with increasing panic. Now paralyzed with fear, the young boy is swallowed by the mob of children. He calls out once, twice, then three times – not for his parents, but for the older boy. His head searches the crowd, quickly turning left, then right, then left again.
Just when she is about to swoop in to rescue the younger boy and thwart any potential tears, the older boy emerges. He holds out his hand to the younger boy and guides him out of the fray. He gently places his hand on the back of the younger boy’s neck. He leads him out of the frenzied maze of dancing children.
She keeps watching the two boys. She is fascinated by the two boys. In fact, she can’t look away from those two boys – her boys.
She watches and she hopes…that years from now, when their worlds are wider and more complicated, they will remember that they were each others’ first friend, ally, leader, and protector…
That when they have jobs, families, and kids of their own, they will continue to call to each other amidst the chaos of their daily lives…
That when their problems consist, not of skinned knees and broken toys, but of financial struggles, career setbacks, and relationship challenges, they will continue to hold out a hand to each other…
That when they are confused and hurt and frustrated and lost, they will be the first one to guide the other to safety…
That they will always – always – be more than brothers.
“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.”
― Marc Brown