My little brother had a birthday. I was almost normal.
He participates in a mock trial club and had a competition on his 18th birthday, which was perfect, because I'd been wanting to see him in action, and I definitely wanted to wish him a happy birthday on the actual day, if I could.
So, we made the (nauseating) drive and I medicated with half a large cookie, even though I had no idea what I was getting into. I was anxious, but it was important to me to try.
There was a huge line outside the building and through the glass windows I could see metal detectors and security checking people and their belongings for dangerous items. We funneled slowly inside and I was horrified to find a huge crowd waiting for the elevators. They were packing us in like sardines and it was not ideal. We looked for stairs, but they were inaccessible (which seems really unsafe, doesn't it?), so we found our way to the end of the line and waited to be mashed in.
I really hope I never have to be in a full elevator again.
We made it to the courtroom and found it packed, but there were two chairs available in the back, which we took gladly. My brother took his turn on the stand early and played his part well, and I was a proud big sister. Those several minutes were glorious as I sat in rapt adoration of the impossibly grown baby I'd seen born 18 years ago. He's such a blessing to me.
The small room became stuffy with the heat of a hundred bodies rather quickly and I wished they would have left the door open. But that's not the way of the courts system, even the mock courts.
Perfume is a steady smack in the face, even when it's subtle, and when there are fifty different combinations of scent in one room, it is not usually a good place for me to be. The uncomfortable chairs, the bright overhead lighting, the shrill edge to some of the more radically pubescent students' voices; I was under assault the entire two hours. But I'd taken that marijuana cookie, so I wasn't nearly as reactive as usual. I was uncomfortable, definitely, but when the usual response to that kind of situation is sobbing pain, I can't complain.
I stuck it out for over two hours, because I'm a saint obviously, and because I needed to be there for my brother, at least once. Even if he didn't need me, it felt really good to be a family member in the audience, to be supportive. It's been so long since I've been able to be there for someone else.
Happy birthday, Bub.