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There was a small year long flash of time in which I was convinced that I hated my 19-month-older brother. I was about 11 years old and everything my brother did seemed to annoy me. I blame it on changing teenage hormones now, but back then, I hated his smile, his laugh, the way he ate, really everything he ever did. And then, that summer at the height of both my annoyance with my brother and global temperatures, my dad had the audacity to announce that our family was going on a road trip.
I looked at my dad’s cheery face, as he seemed proud of the idea and thought, “a road trip”? The suggestion was ludicrous. There was no way I was spending endless hours trapped in a steel can on wheels with my brother, the obvious devil incarnate. I could already imagine murder and subsequent prison. At this point it is important to note that my brother and I were feuding to the point of physical confrontations. The horrendous outcome of having us in the same car together for an extended period of time was inevitable.
But, alas, the day came and we all packed our bags into our family’s silver Toyota Sienna minivan and we hit the road. The first stretch of the trip went as expected: yelling, blaming, hitting, shouting, pettiness, and then we just got tired. We got exhausted of the constant close quarters abuse and the unending pit of anger that seemed to separate us.
I can actually remember where my brother and I made our truce. It was in the middle of Utah with nothing but the sun pounding on our car’s rooftop, rusted red arches and burnt orange rock formations rising up out of the ground and stretching towards the cloudless azure sky. Battered and beaten by each other’s words, we just stopped fighting. And I couldn’t be more thankful. Not only because I no longer had to hold onto meaningless and corrosive anger but also because that truce, in the middle of Utah, on road trip I didn’t even want to go on, gave me back one of my best friends.
I can’t thank him enough for his patience and understanding. I’m sure my brother remembers this story differently and with less sweeping landscapes and drama. But even so, that fateful road trip changed our sibling bond for the better. Don’t get me wrong; I still think it is a terrible idea to force your family on a road trip. Nevertheless, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.