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  • A few days ago, my brother came home. I hadn't seen him for a few months, but he came, nineteen years old and with a slow-healing, torn knee ligament. He came home different, and not in a bad way. He came home, and it struck me that my brother, who used to play with me in a game of toy soldiers vs. Barbies, is now a man. A grown-up. An adult. Maybe it was the beard he had just started growing, maybe, somehow, it was the crutches; but I think it was mostly the way he kissed my mother's head, my father's hand and ruffled my two little brothers' hair, before turning around to hug me as best he could.

    During the past five months, he was living on his own in London, mostly fending for himself, because my parents wanted him to be "independent"; and I guess now he is. He always used to kiss my parents in affection and respect and he always used to ruffle my brothers' hair playfully and that was definitely not the first time he hugged me. He'd done it all before, but this time, it felt like he truly appreciated it. Like he learnt some time during the five months away, that he needed us just as we needed him.

    He changed. But in the core, where it really matters, he is still the same guy who pushes me off my bed, despite having his own, just to annoy me; he is still the same guy who I woke up at 3 a.m. one morning because I needed a shoulder to cry on and he was there for me; he is still the same guy who taught me things hundreds of years at school wouldn't have taught me; he is still the same guy who would walk into my room (almost) every night to talk to me, to tell me about his day and hear about mine; and he is the same guy who stood up for me when the world was against me and when I didn't deserve it.

    He is my brother, and now he is a man, and I have missed him like hell.
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