Brannon’s Sphere, Part One: The Boy Genius

I always thought my twin brother was weird and so did everyone else. At five, when I was learning how to add one plus two, he was learning how to perform quadratic equations and toying with linear algebra, he was learning these things before he became good with numbers, after he figured out what he was doing he couldn’t be touched. His I.Q. was through the roof. At ten he graduated high school, but only on the condition that he would still attend regular school. Why? Because mom was worried that if he joined the adult world too quickly, he wouldn’t have the proper socialization skills to succeed in life. So he hung around at school with me when he didn’t need or want to.

At school, he always had two things in his hands, a graphic lined notebook with a mechanical pencil and a book. Usually the book was something like a thesis on String Theory, it was almost never a book about something I could understand. In his notebook, he was constantly experimenting with numbers, but he never needed a calculator, his mind could do an infinite number of correct calculations far better than any machine.

The teachers both loved him and hated him. They loved his novelty, they could have any kind of discussion with him from genetics to theology, but once it wore off, they tediously ignored him because it was too obvious he knew all the answers to all the questions and he didn’t need them to help him become a finely tuned robot, as the other kids were gradually becoming.

As for me, I just wanted to play football and chase girls. I didn’t think or care about the future. I lived for the moment and had a blast. I had many friends and many girlfriends and later on, many lovers. I was the life of the party, the jock, a part I played very well. I didn’t mind any of it. I liked what I was.

I wasn’t the kindest or the best brother, but I felt a sense of obligation to Michael. He needed protected. I made sure that no one ever beat him up or bothered him. I tried to help him get girlfriends and to help him be cool. He wasn’t interested in either one of these things. One day, I offered him a cigarette after school. He had never tried smoking, but each thin white sliver broke in his hands. He was so excited to be included in this one small right of passage, that his hands shook and he couldn’t hold a cigarette without breaking it. After three tries we quit, assumed he was jinxed and moved on to something else. As it turned out, I shouldn’t have tried to make Michael cool. Michael was cool on a whole different set of terms than mine.