Standing taller than us in the back corner of my brother’s childhood bedroom was a particle board bookshelf, medium brown like our skin. My brother and dad assembled it themselves from a box; I got to put wood-printed stickers over the exposed screws. He always displayed his latest Lego creation on the middle shelf, just at little sister height. These constructions hinted at his future engineering degree: pulled from big Expert Builder sets he made cars with nubby monster truck wheels, gears, and working motors.

Growing up I adored my older brother. I listened to the music he listened to, I wanted to attend the college he attended (I didn’t get accepted there but it turned out pretty well for me), and I was in awe of his Lego skills.

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