He stood at the balcony alone. Hunching slightly, he looked at the children playing at the playground below. I knew he was thinking about Sharon again. Though he was silent as usual, the faraway look on his face spoke a million words.
Everyone used to say he was tall for his age. My brother, Joe, had a rather dark complexion due to his love for outdoor activities. He swam regularly and enjoyed sailing. Whenever he was free, he would take me to East Coast Park to cycle. We would spend almost the entire day there and end it with watching the beautiful sunset.
Though Joe was nine years older than me, we shared a rather close relationship. He was my confidante, someone I turned to when faced with trials and tribulations in life. He knew exactly how to comfort me and cheer me up when I was feeling blue. He listened without interruption to my problems and gave me wise advice.
Since young, Joe was the elder brother figure to me. He was caring towards me and made sure no one bullied his only sister. During the school holidays, both of us would go to the beach and have our own little picnic. Surprisingly for a male at his age, he was a rather good cook. During his leisure time, he would whip up a feast meant for two, never failing to receive compliments from me.
Joe led an independent life. He had numerous academic achievements but remained humble throughout his schooling days. Though he was amiable enough, he was never the sociable type who mixed around with everyone. He preferred to keep to himself when possible. I never figured out how he could just stay in his room all day long, reading books and using the computer. He was not like the rest of his classmates who met and played football every other day.
As my brother was pushing twenty-five years, our mother was worried about him and nagged him to find a girlfriend. He would always give us an uncomprehensive smile, as if saying, he would eventually marry if he was destined for marriage. Joe used to have a girlfriend, Sharon. They were together for more than four years. However, they broke up without any apparent reason. My brother never spoke about their relationship and I never dared to ask him about it. Joe was a person who guarded his privacy strongly and I respected his silence. There were times though when I really wished I knew and understood more about him. Not questioning him did not meant that I stopped pondering about my queries.
My mother had tried to pry into his private world more than once but with hardly any results. Joe resented anyone intruding his space and turned off completely when my mother tried to matchmake him. Although my brother understood her concern for him, I knew he wanted to be left alone in such matters.
Joe was a quiet and private person but I admired his silent determination in doing things he believed in. Despite his quirks and all, I believed that the most important thing was to treasure our close relationship and there was no need for me to understand my brother until he wanted me to.