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  • My younger brother Stephen remembers the night I broke the window.
    He was around four and I was a hornet’s nest at 16.
    I remember a fight with my Father, I kicked at the air, and one of my clogs flew off and through a window.
    Broken glass makes a final sound, a punctuation that cannot be pieced back together.
    We replaced the glass but it took years to heal the anger.

    I was 12 years old when Stephen was born.
    I had just become a woman, technically speaking, but I was still a child in heart and mind.

    I was the one with the pregnant Mom at school; my parents must have had sex that was the only explanation.
    From that time until I was on my own I began to act out.

    I have two older brothers who have taught me many things. I followed them around and watched what they did, learning all the time.
    I now had younger brother who was interested in what I did and wanted to try whatever it was.
    But when he was a young child I was doing things that should not be imitated like smoking, listening to loud music and other things that demand privacy, even secrecy.

    He held a mirror up to me that reflected a bad picture.
    Looking at him I could see myself from the outside.
    From his calm and cheerful response to most of life I heard my anger.

    I grew up and calmed down.
    I taught Stephen how to carve wood, how to navigate New York and other useful, constructive things.

    He taught me about new aspects of life too.
    My brother practices Aikido and has for two decades.
    It is a way of life for him. It is a form of defensive dance where you learn to throw your opponents, or partner, using their momentum.
    The most important lesson is to learn is how to be thrown, you need to learn how to fall.

    My brother met his wife Shannon at an Aikido DoJo.
    He was teaching a class and she trained with him.

    I went to visit them this winter, after a blizzard.
    We were out walking and Shannon slipped on the ice.
    It happened too fast to catch her but I had time to notice how she extended her arm as she went down and made a twist with her body.

    “Nice form,” I said when she got up.
    “I had a good teacher,” she laughed.

    Stephen had taught her how to fall.
    Just like he taught me.
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