Cesar found his Real Grade wing Gundam model, the one he’d put together over one weekend, missing from its regular spot. The plastic, six-inch figure now laid on his bed, the Gundam’s gun placed between its open legs.
“Did your toy start without you again?” Sergio asked from the doorway, one foot resting atop a soccer ball. Despite being fifteen and a year younger than Cesar, Sergio was taller, bigger, and worst of all, cooler than his older brother.
Ignoring him, Cesar frowned as the figure’s arm refused to remain upright. Loose joints were a known issue with some of the models, which is why Roberto had been so proud when he got the figure to match the pose featured on the cover of the box it came in.
“Guess you know all about not being able to wait, right?” Sergio asked, taking a swig from the green bottle he always carried with him and kicked the ball into Cesar’s room.
“What do you want, Sergio?” Cesar asked and lunged for the ball.
“’What do you want, Sergio?’” Sergio mimicked, reaching the ball before Cesar. He feinted left, the ball an extension of his legs in a way which made him the star of the high school soccer team “You’re such a pussy.” Balancing the ball on one foot, he effortlessly switched it to the other. “And this, big brother,” he kicked the ball towards Cesar’s wall, the one with the shelf with all his finished models, “ain’t helping.” The models Cesar teetered on the shelf, the Astray Red Frame, Cesar’s first builds swaying and falling off the shelf.
“Sergio!” Cesar shouted, already on the floor. He found the head under his bed, a left leg by the heater, and the torso by the bookshelf. While only a year apart, the distance between Sergio and Cesar felt wider. They’d never shared any similar interests, and once Sergio picked up soccer and friends who laughed any time they watched him pick on Cesar, things had gotten worse. Last year their parents finally saw reason and put them in separate rooms.
“Oh shit, I didn’t mean to do that,” he heard his brother said, Cesar setting all the pieces on his desk. “But you love building this shit, don’t you? So I did you a favor. Works out too, since I’m having some friends over tonight and I need you to stay in your room.”
“I’m not staying in my room all night,” Cesar muttered.
“Hah, it’s cute you think I was asking,” Sergio said. “You’re staying in your room. Otherwise I tell everyone how I caught you that day.”
Cesar wished he could go back to that day six months ago, when he thought he had the house to himself, only for Sergio to come home from early from soccer practice and walking into Cesar’s room without knocking first. “For how long?” Cesar asked, back to fiddling with the figure’s arm.
“See, I knew you’d see it my way. Setting his water bottle down on the desk, he reached down to pick up his ball. “Just chill here till I give you the heads up.” Tucking the ball in his arm, he walked towards the door only to stop to look back at Cesar. “God dam, you’re such a fucking loser.”
The arm in Cesar’s hand snapped in two, right below the shoulder. He stayed quiet, turning the model over and running a fingertip over the broken joint.
Sergio shook his head, almost as if he was disappointed in Cesar for not responding, bounced the wall on the floor once, caught it, and walked away.
Cesar rubbed his eyes. Glancing at the joint again, he opened a desk drawer, rummaging around until he found the small bottle of super glue he kept there. Placing the arm and model on the desk, his eyes were drawn to a phrase on the front of label.
CAUTION DO NOT INGEST
The thick, dark brown liquid inside Sergio’s water bottle looked like sewer sludge to Cesar, but he knew his brother swore by and always made a point to finish it.
“Hey Sergio,” Cesar shouted, unscrewing top of the super glue, “you forgot your drink.”