By Emmanuel Padilla
When I was sixteen, I worked as an ice cream vendor at Giants game. During the month
of December, we had a holiday Party. At the party, various gifts were raffled.
My number was called. My prize; A CD by rapper Chingy. He had such hits as “Right
Thurr” and “Holiday Inn.”
I went home, opened the CD without tearing the seal. I listened to the CD, downloaded
it to my computer, put the CD back inside the case, wrapped it, and put it in my sister’s
My sister is 2 years younger than I am.
Her name, Tati. It has a cute ring to it. It gives off cariño, (which is translated to BLANK,
but like so many words, it sounds beautiful in Spanish).
While her name is cariñoso, calling her my little sister gives me a sense of pride. Not in
a dominant way, but in knowing that Tati is not only my sister, but my little sister.
Tati just turned 22. Since I have played her with my gifts (re: Chingy CD), I asked her
what she wanted for her birthday
“I want you to write me a story,” she said.
My sister and I have a dual relationship. Yes, I am her big brother, but for the most of
her life, I have done my best to also be her father figure
I have envisioned us having a relationship where we go out together, talk on the phone
daily, and visit each other during our College/Young Professional stages in our lives.
Honestly, our relationship isn’t like that.
We talk when we are at Mom’s house. We go out when the family goes out. And we
text. Occasionally. I have been to her apartment in San Jose, but only to help her move.
It’s the relationship we have to have.
The dual relationship of being a big brother/father figure, like everything, has its
sacrifices and difficulties.
When we have conversations, I am both interested and judgmental. When she is in my
thoughts, I am both proud and cautious. When she confides in me, I am trusting and
I know you want a brother who is more of a friend. I want to be your best friend. And I
may be overdoing it, but our situation makes it a challenge.
But we both understand it.
I remember going to McDonalds with you and Ita every Friday for lunch. We would
collect Pogs and trade them in when we didn’t like them. I would take all the creamers
for you to drink. We would be in the PlayPen until the afternoon turned red and our
socks came off to climb up the slide backwards.
During the summer, we were always at the Palaega Park. You would be in the
sand box, and I would be on the tennis courts playing baseball.
When we got tired we would go home and ride bikes. You would watch from the
Window while my friends and I built bike ramps.
One time, we were playing with Fireworks, and we burned Tio Sergio’s workout bench.
Literally, we put that sucker in flames.
I was always scared of the dark, and I would drag you out of your room to sleep on my
floor, just so that I could sleep.
You are the brave one.
We watched Brink! and Uncle Buck together on my scared nights.
You were my partner in crime.
You are now my fashion police. You keep it real with me when I am at fault. You are my
I wish I could be sorry for giving you that Chingy CD, but I’m not.
It adds to our story. Our history, Our bond.
I love you. I know this isn’t a story, but it’s a reflection of our story that will continue to
grow as we grow, dually.
Happy birthday, your big brother.