My brother, Adib and I used to be really close when we were both still kids. He was my first brother and my first friend. He’s the reason I am called Along (that’s an endearment term in Malay for the eldest sibling). And we would make the duo that is Along and Adib, daughter and son of Ashari and Anidah.

Only three years apart, Along and Adib would do almost everything together. Like building Lego homes, play NBA games where Adib would play his then favorite team, the Houston Rocket and I on the other hand would became a commentator. We would helped Mak and Abah in the kitchen, both equally well trained by our parents to make sure we both could survive the world with good home cooked food (but I think Adib is a better cook now than I am cause I don’t cook as often as I used to). We would ask Abah to build things for us, like those tree house we got excited over for maybe a week before we moved on to new favourites. I remember when we were living in Johor Bahru for a year, I would go and pick Adib from school when I could. I would walk back to school late in the afternoon, only to walk back home with him. We were the two most privileged among all of our siblings, only cause we existed earlier. We got Mak and Abah to ourselves, and when they were younger parents. We would travel and go on holiday as family. Along and Adib had everything in the world, and each other. Until Hakim came along, and then Yah and then Aiman and then our beautifully special, Aatif.

As we get older, we grew slightly apart just because we both had our own dreams and have slightly different values. We both have our own friends that we hang out with. Our relationship matures into that of an adult siblings. We respect each other. We’re aware of our responsibilities— as daughter and son to our parents, as brother and sister to our siblings —only that I think Adib is more responsible and reliable than I am. We became less involved with each other. We no longer spend as much time as we used to. We don’t confide in each other. We argue at times. Truth be told, over the past years, Adib to me is that one phone call I make whenever I needed real help. Like picking me up at 3am from work when I was working at Bernama. When I needed to move homes. When I want someone to drive me around Penang. Fact of the matter is… I somewhat became his responsibility. He’ve been taking care of me when it should have been the other way around.

Yesterday, Adib entered a new chapter of his life. He became a husband to a pretty young thing whom I learned, is a fellow creative soul the same way Adib is too. And I couldn’t be anymore happier. I couldn’t be any prouder. I cried even before he completed his akad. My first brother, my first friend, my first blood growing into a man. That was the moment when I realized that we never grew apart. Not since that first day Along saw you when Mak came home carrying a baby I would eventually call my brother. It all started with us the duo Along and Adib, daughter and son to Ashari and Anidah. Then we became Along and Adib and Hakim and Yah and Aiman and Aatiff. And now we welcome Ezzah to the fam.

Be a good husband, be just to your wife, be good to her, love her the way you never love before, be a feminist because you now have four women in your life you need to fight for. And then maybe more.

But know that Along have never stopped loving you, Adib. You’re the first brother and my first friend, and nothing will ever take that fact away from me.