Who Loves Me More?
Creative Non-fiction
Capri-Sun. Orange Capri Sun. The foil juice pouch reminds me of the scar above my younger brother Amro’s eyebrow. Of his thick black hair sprouting out of the gauze wrapped around his head. Of Dad changing his bandages. I would sit on my bed and watch his lower lip curl as Dad dabbed the alcohol soaked cotton ball onto his stitches. Sixteen years later, orange Capri Suns taste like orange concentrate, water and guilt. The scabby glue from the straw still hanging on the back of the silver bag, Orange Capri Sun reminds me of the scar on my brother’s forehead.
“Whoever gets me the tissue box from the kitchen first, loves me more,” Mom said between sips of Turkish coffee. Her ruby lipstick stained the gold rim of her favorite china. She stretched her arm forward and placed the delicate cup and saucer onto the IKEA coffee table in the center of the living room. Amro sat, cross-legged with his back against the table, stacking blue, green and red alphabet cubes by his feet. I sat across from him, on my knees, so not to wrinkle my dress. Our nanny, Zahra, folded laundry at one end of the couch. A navy rug covered the centre of our cold ceramic tiled floor. It was Friday night. Dad was picking us up after work .so we could all go to the Dubai Festival. Ferris Wheels. That’s the only ride I would agree to go on. I would ride over and over until my brother threw a tantrum and asked to go on something else.
“No one loves me then,” my mom pouted at us. She took another sip of her coffee and blew me a kiss. My brother jumped up onto his miniature black timberland boots. “Me, me, me,” he squealed. I balanced against the edge of the coffee table and pushed myself up. “No,” I giggled. “I can run faster.” Amro stomped his feet towards the kitchen. He stretched his short stubby legs to pick up his speed. I ran after him.
I was five when I first saw blood gush out of a wound like that. The image in my mind is of a gaping dark hole. Deep, not a surface cut or sliced flesh, but a three-dimensional hole, wide and deep enough to stick your finger in. His eyes and face were as crimson as the thick liquid that streamed down his cheeks. His dark lashes wilted with tears. That was the only glimpse I got of his face right before my panic-struck mom, pressed blood drenched Kleenex to his forehead, scooped him up and ran to the bathroom.
“Me,” Amro snapped as he stretched his arm up and felt for the tissue box on the surface of kitchen table. He knocked the floral decorated cardboard box onto the grey tiles and bent over to snatch it.
“I love her too.” I pursed my lips. “No fair.” I reached down to snatch the box out of his grip.
“Meeeee,” Amro tugged the box out of my grip and raised it above his head.
I took a step forward. Amro spun around and scampered out of the kitchen. I ran after him.
My memory of what happened next is in flashes, like a series of photos in burst. My mom yelled, “don’t run.” We ran faster. She yelled again, “don’t run.” We took bigger strides. My foot got caught on the edge of the navy blue carpet. Amro stopped. My knees hit the ground. Amro waved the tissue box in the air. “Me, me, me.” I flung my arms. My palms pushed against Amro’s back. Not the ground. He fell to his knees and his head jolted forward.
            I was five when I first saw blood gush out of a wound like that. Amro’s lower lip curled and his big brown eyes blinked in agony. He turned away from the bloody corner of the black-brown table, streams of blood and tears merging on his cheeks. His weeping went from silent gulps of pain to piercing cries. I got one glimpse of the hole before my mom sprung forward and grabbed him. Deep and dark with dangling flesh on the edges and blood gushing out in all directions. My mom’s eyes were bloodshot with fear as she picked the tissue box off the carpet. She snatched napkins, one after the other, with her manicured fingers before dropping to her knees and holding them to his face. In an instant, the napkins were limp with blood.
            I sat on the edge of the couch, choking back my tears. Our nanny Zahra sat next to me, rubbing my back and stroking my hair. “It’s okay beautiful, he’s gonna be okay,” she repeated. I brushed the tears off my cheeks with the edge of my new sweater. Zahra got up and walked towards the kitchen. Dad made it home in time to take my brother and mom to the hospital. Amro would definitely come back with stiches. They ran out of the door so fast I didn’t have time to see his face before leaving. My mom wrapped his head with the gold embroidered hand towel she bought a week ago. “They’re for guests only,” she said as she hung them up in the bathroom by the front door. The towel was the only thing thick enough to soak up the blood.
Zahra raced back into the living room carrying a juice pouch. She handed me the bloated silver sack. I ripped off the orange straw and peeled off the wrapper. I punctured the surface with the sharp edge and held the straw up to my lips. Orange Capri Sun.
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