of Parts. Part III

January 1, 2012

January two, the year of our Lord, nineteen sixty one, was born, in Kettering, Northamtonshire England, My Brother, Mark Lee Harrell.
At the time, almost three years hence till my own coming, I could possibly say I know him as well now, as I did then.
I wonder if two Men, born of the same house, could be as vastly different in personality and appearance, as it is with he and I.
Where I am rash and impetuous, he is calm and reserved. Where I am loud and boisterous, he is quiet and pensive. Where I, (the only one, so said my Father) who could destroy a Tonka Truck, he could reassemble it. Mark went Air Force, I went Army.
Where I have light eyes and light(er) hair, his dark and his hair, once jet black, now, at least share the inevitable march of grey. Though, even on this front, my senior, holds at bay and my own march of “dignified bearing”, seems to have outpaced him.
It may have been these stark differences that compelled our Mother, to our eventual, mutual jocularity, on so many documented occasions, dress us as if we were twins.
Doing so, did little to mask our outward differences and it was for he that perfect strangers often detained my Mother with oaths of earnest delight at “such a charming and lovely young Man!”
A beautiful boy and handsome Man, is my Brother.
If this truth in anyway contributed to my own need for attention and the terror I inflicted on my Parents to gain it, I cannot say, but that my Brother was a special child, sharp and imaginative, striking in appearance and deft in manner, is indisputable.
In childhood, we were much like any other siblings with a three year age span. A good part of it was spent pinned beneath him, knees on my shoulders and a long, threatening, swaying string of spit, suspended above my face.
We shared a bedroom and bunk-beds and he, naturally, insisting on the top or bottom, depending on his mood. Only settling on the bottom to finally curtail his proclivity for sleep walking, after having launched himself from the top bunk one night, into the armoire. We conspired against our mutual enemy, our tormenting Sister. For both having the audacity to be infallible in our Fathers eyes and for the unfairness of having her own room.
We shared some friends. The pool of other American children in Italy somewhat limited, age became less an issue as it might have Stateside. We fought the Guinea Wop kids in the Piazza as a gang and took trains into Naples and Pozzuoli as a unit.
We shared plundered Benson-Hedges cigarettes but certainly not the blame once discovered.
I thought my Brother cruel, aloof, enigmatic, stubborn, carefree, brilliant and untouchable. Both my nemesis and hero.
Our teens were an entirely different experience. Not just in application but in perception as well. The usual, predictable rites of passages of boys to men were spent apart with my leaving home at such an early age.
Catching up when we could, I have always been struck by how differently we ended up viewing the world we lived.
The Seventies saw us both grow our hair long and seek distractions. For Mark, it was distancing himself from the stern hand of our Father, experimenting with some drugs and for me it was resisting every hand of authority laid upon me. Each with questionable results, I think.
The eighties, even more of a disparity in perspective. His, Iron Maiden, mine, Depeche Mode.
It would be some years before we again crossed paths, with my inevitable resurfacing after a predictable, if unexplained, long absence. Mark, not to be overly perturbed, was to embrace me again as if no time had passed.
More than time had passed though.
In that time, he had tried his hand at a family life, marrying a teenage sweetheart and having three children with her. Whereas I, on the other hand, could be relied to take a solitary path.
This reunion, by circumstance, had us in each others company for an extended period and our developed natures in difference again were made apparent.
Ever reticent, we parted from that adventure knowing as little of each other as having entered it. Not mourning the fact, only accepting it more readily. My Brother and I are vastly different Men and fortunately so. We will forever be bonded with history and blood. Once, this may have meant very little to me but today, I cling to it passionately and am thankful for it. Thankful for my Brother Mark and his ability to accept me as I am and his open door. I aspire to his own perceptions and look upon him with the same, mutual, embrace. For all we are, and are not, he is, and will remain, my Brother. As will my love for him.

7 Responses to “of Parts. Part III”

  1. K8 said

    Nice. Very nice.

  2. K8 said

    Your mom always got preggers at around the same time huh?

  3. ofreh said

    Gee Mom, honest mistake. I thought they were the same. Forgive me. 

    Roland

  4. ofreh said

    Uh oh.  I don’t suppose you have one of Mark L Harrell that resembles it, close to his birth? 

    Roland

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