“When I was younger I thought it humorous to lose my valuables, my schoolbooks and my school supplies. I don't remember so clearly where I had acquired such a habit or where I would have accepted such a notion to begin with, but I think to myself that it must have been on the schoolyard. Ours was a childhood marked by this notion that novelty and a peculiar character was what held you as distinct from the students around you, not intellect or charisma or a spirit of beneficence, but an alluring strangeness that made other people wonder about you and your conditions. Attention, as it was for me and my brother, seemed to stir for us as kids little more than a misplaced sense of contrition about how we came to be the way we were.
And so when I threw my pens and pencaps across the floor when the teacher wasn't looking, or when I left my assigned copy of Judy Blume in my cubby for days and days while telling my teachers that I left it at home, it never lived alone this feeling of mischief that I would abide by without any real sense as to why. I did feel guilty, of course, but that only came after the long-winded scolding from my teachers or parents.
My brother had a more grave sense of personal property even when he was little older and with not much more of a claim to any real possessions. Somewhere in our shared childhood he had learned to hoard, and seemingly as if to flaunt how I had no such compulsion, I would act to purposefully incense him, leaving the video games our mother bought for us both in my desk at school on a Friday so that he wouldn't be able to play them all weekend. Even when he expressed his rancor with his fists, I would continue to do this in the same way that I continued to leave my worksheets in my desk even when I completed them and had only to turn them in for a grade.
On the subject of possessions and the differences in how we treated them, I came to accept the more mundane explanations as fitting. I came to think of them as parallel: my brother's need to acquire and accumulate that ran alongside my own need to find some provocation that could be induced by whatever means, never to wonder to what end they were pursued and what we could even recognize about ourselves in so doing. My brother learned of the world in this finite space that was entirely typical, where my parents fed him ready-made food and instilled in him the value of free time afforded by their sacrifice. And it was as if I would hear these same lessons secondhand and through the prism of his own actualization. If he was as apparently so angry with the people around him for not being as selfish as he was, then it was that I thought it a blessing indeed to have those circumstances of our upbringing to make me so careless in his eyes. I thought it fortunate for us to be made to attend as many community events as we did, not for the people in their spirit of aid and giving but for the complimentary food and drink. Even from a young age I could recognize (albeit not so precisely) that we were raised in relative distance to this idea, how fragile they were the things we acquired, and how much I could abscond with my own sense of who I was by trying so intentionally to discard those things assigned to me.”