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August 19, 2010

I saw my older brother yesterday for dinner and I remembered how we used to play on the floor, building Lego towns. He established strict building codes. Walls were four bricks high and each layer of lego had to cover the cracks in the layer below, like bricks in a brick wall. Doors were four bricks stacked on top of each other so they could be pushed open by the residents, multi colored rubber animals we had gotten at the dentist. He had orange lions, gloriously intact, because he had not chewed on them. I had blue seals, but I’d bitten off their tails, permanently disabling them. Their existence was made even harder by the slums they lived in, disasters compared to my brother’s palazzi. He set up a car track with fancy bridges and overpasses so the lions could buzz around town in their elegant vehicles. The seals’ cars were more banged up, unfortunately. My favorite part was when things happened. The lions would jump in their cars and put out fires and rescue small children and have parties. My seals tagged along, though they didn’t always know what to say or do.

Fifteen or so years later, my brother got a Ph.D in urban planning. As for me, I was seven years younger and so when my brother got too old to play with Lego I went right on. I learned to make the lions do exciting things by myself. The poor seals always stayed slum dwellers. Now I write stories. I still like to shuttle people around in my imagination.

Yesterday, when I watched the children in my family play, I wondered about their futures. Twenty years from now I might find out.

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