More than just a postcard

Little video I put together to get a little glimpse of what my brother was like and capture some of his infectious personality.

Since I was a little kid, I liked to collect all types of postcards from any place or person. They never had to be addressed necessarily to me, unless they were unique in some way. I like when people send me a postcard from where they are, so I can enhance my nice collection. I don’t even know how many of them I have already; however, I do know for sure which is my favorite – the one from my brother.

Robert, alias Kuko (a nickname that stack to him since his early childhood when he used hide all the time and then jumping out while saying loud: “Kuk!” just to surprise you), is my younger and only brother. I have two more sisters, Patricia and Martina. To be more precise, Patricia and I are from first marriage of our parents. Kuko is from my mom’s second one, and Martina is from the second marriage of my dad. Kuko was always my favorite sibling; he is just that “Mr. Perfect”! If he weren’t my brother, I would marry him right away. Kidding!

One of the main reasons why we became this close is because we spent all our childhood together. After our parents divorced, we stayed living with our mom. When we were kids, we used to fight a lot, like most kids, I suppose. However, later we became the “best buddies” . We had our little talks about our dreams, goals in our life, first loves, excitements, disappointments, fears, etc.

I remember our best moments when we had one of our “laughing crises” . We could just start cracking up; even though, we knew that we might run into some troubles. For instance, we were at the dinner table eating. Our parents were already watching TV in living room, right next to the kitchen. I don’t even know why, but suddenly we started to giggle about something and we just couldn’t stop. Evidently, our parents could hear us very clearly and after a little while it started to disturb them. Kuko’s father, who I always had a lot of respect from, warned us to calm down. Not even a few more warnings were helpful. Every time we looked into each other’s eyes, we started it over again. Kuko’s father lost his last drop of nerves and came to intervene. He wasn’t laughing at all. He was mad, more than anything. Usually, I was able to control my behavior a little better; especially, when I knew that I was all about to put myself in some troubles. However, that didn’t work for me this time. Not even today, after all these years, I can’t believe that we weren’t able to break his graveness. I think that we had to look so cute. There can’t be anything bad about having a good time at the table. But I can understand that our giggling had to get pretty annoying and even more disturbing after a while. Anyway…

Sometimes, I call Kuko also my guarding angel. He will always stay my “little” brother, but there is something that I will never be able to thank him enough for. , I was not in the best shape. I was still in high school, struggling with too many things at the same time. I had a hard time to handle all the pressure that was put on me. So many times people that surrounded me blamed me for things that I wasn’t even responsible for. Everybody was expecting so much from me, but nobody could really see how I felt, that I was all confused but mostly hurt by being misunderstood. I felt extremely sad about the fact that nobody was able to see how lonely I felt at the time. Not many people had a kind word to say to me. Once, I hit such a low point in my life that I was ready to do the worst thing that anyone could ever imagine to end my misery.

The only person who sensed something not very smart producing in my head, was my Kuko. He was there, with me, at the exact moment when I needed him the most. He came to intercede at the very same moment when I was about to finish all the pain I’ve been feeling. He refused to leave me even though I wanted him to, whereas he knew his reasons like I knew mine. Suddenly, at that point, I realized that there is at least one person in this world who can see in me and can listen to what I’m trying to say once in awhile. There is no way to thank him for that day well enough. As I already mentioned, he will stay forever my secret guarding angel.

Ok, I think that this is the right time to say something more about this one postcard that Kuko sent me right before from Les Menuires. It was the first time he had been to France, which we both love to death, as a tour guide. He was extremely excited about his new part-time job. He didn’t have to pay for anything; including snowboarding, which he could do as much as he wanted. I wasn’t able to see him since I came to the United States , unlike the rest of my family. Obviously, I miss him a lot.

What do you get to see on this postcard that is so special to me? On one side, there is a picture that is very simple, a snowboarder cruising down the hill. A big palette of colors is not applied in this picture that makes the contrast even smaller. As a matter of fact, the scene is in the mountains; the main colors are mostly blue and white, colors of the sky and the snow. The snowboarder is highlighted a little with his yellow coat that he is wearing, what brings him up a little in the middle of all that beauty.

First, when I got this postcard, I liked most, the content. It shows in a best way, the kind of relationship that my brother and I always had together. He wrote:

“Hi ham (yes, a ham, the meat!!), what’s up? In fact, it doesn’t matter that much. I just wanted to tell you that I’m skiing (snowboarding) in French Alps. After my first day here, I’m exhausted as a goat. Anyway, I love you so much that I’m even writing you as a goat and not as a stork. I love you and I’m sending you a beautiful and slobbery kiss. Kuko PS. That person on the other side, that’s not me because I know better.”

Just these few sentences can express so well how I keep remembering my “little” brother in my memories from back home. Always fully charged of energy, humor and good spirit. Now, I can say for sure that I like every little inch of that small piece of paper for one main reason – it’s the only and last thing that I will ever have from him again.

I was hoping to make him come over here for a visit along with my mom around my spring break. My schedule weren’t really going along with his, so we had to hang up our plans for a little later. However, my mom made it to come, what made her the first person that I got to see from my family since I came to the US. It was her first time here, so she was pretty excited, not just for seeing me but also the country and meeting the people that I lived and hang out with. Just few days before she was supposed to go back, during this year’s spring break, I got a phone call from home. It was shortly after midnight, and we had just gotten back from out little trip to Seattle. We went there to see a performance of two Slovak comedians (Milan Lasica & Július Satinský) that used to play with my grandfather, Martin Gregor, while he was still alive. He was a well-known actor in “ex” Czechoslovakia. When I answered the phone, I first thought it was Kuko calling me from France where ha had gone for another week as a tour guide. Then I realized it was his dad, which surprised me even more, as I wasn’t in touch with him since I left home. I was just in such a good mood that I was happy to hear anybody from home, so I could share my big excitements. Finally, after I finished “jabbering” about my wonderful evening, I asked him what made him call me, just like that. First, he answered with a question: “Are you sitting?” I said, “yes” with a little bit of sarcasm, since I was sitting at a computer. I just wasn’t aware at all of what I was about to hear. After a little quiet moment he continued, “Kuko died”. First, it didn’t affect me at all because I just didn’t really get it. Suddenly, I had no idea what was happening at that very moment. I was hoping to be in one of these bad dreams that we all have once in awhile. Deep inside, I begged to be able to just wake up, BUT NO! Please, don’t tell me that my Kuko is dead. I was all about to face cruel reality that my Kuko was gone for good. I wish that I could have changed something so he would be here with us all for a little longer. I had no time to say good-bye. To tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me. He wasn’t only the only brother that I ever had, but also the best!

I would never think that one day this card would be ever so special to me. Now, when I look at it, I can see so much in. It reminds me of all the great times that my little brother and I spent together when we were kids, how we grew up, what we’ve done, all our foolishness, our little talks about life, us, others and “nothing”. When I look back, I can say without hesitation that he had a great life, but just cut way too short. Nevertheless, it was enough time for each person that ever met him, or got to know him, to start liking him. He had an amazing sense of humor that always could come in handy. All that I have left from him now are great memories and this little postcard that I will cherish for as long as I live.

*Note: I wrote this for a Writing Class (WR121) during first weeks of Spring Term 2001 at PCC.