I’ve heard at an early age one of my friends say to me that “the first child is always the sacrificial lamb.” Jin being the second son of two children in his family, he had every incentive to tell others that. I thought he was passing verbal wind. This was when we were in middle school. He always liked to speak to his own advantage. And so I never took him seriously until just the past few years.
I somehow managed to get my hands on a PS4 for William the night before launch day without pre-ordering. I guess I was lucky. But looking at the bigger picture I was even luckier to have a brother like him.
William was born on January 19, 2001 in a hospital in downtown Manhattan. Before him, I was the heir of the Huang family. I was told that he only cried briefly after delivery before quieting to a hush. I was born in 1990, 10 1/2 years older than William. I watched him grow up, and matured not only as an older brother but as an individual over the years. William was never the nagging, annoying type of a sibling. He always kept to himself. Whenever mom would take him to the doctor to get a shot, he never panicked at the notion or sight of having the needle stuck in him. He would cry for about half a minute after the shot was given and then resort back to his usual calm demeanor. I remember him the day that he arrived home with my mother with great joy. He was bundled in a stack of clothing and blankets since it was still winter. I remember family members taking turns posing for pictures with William in our arms. Whenever I held infant William in my arms he would either writhe uncomfortably in my arms or vomit all over me. As a child William was always merry. He never displayed any signs of pessimistic attitude and kept his chin at high altitude.
As a child in elementary school William loved to read and would resort to it whenever he could. He was always the intelligent type. He loved the game of chess with a passion and even joined the school chess club. He always wanted to play chess with me in his elementary school days and I would always beat him. But William wasn’t the type that stayed on the ground after being put down. He knew that the only way to improve at something was through practice and defeat. And so he wanted the challenge of a worthy adversary in chess so that he could get better at it. By the end of fifth grade I still beat him at the game but it took more and more mental strain for me to do so, and the games wound up being played at a slower and slower pace. William was accelerating at it with great haste.
William graduated elementary school with all ‘E’s,’ the highest letter grade and all ‘4’s,’ the highest number grade. During his last year of P.S. 60 he applied to and was accepted to ScholarsAcademy, a very prestigious school that ran from the sixth to twelfth grades. William wanted to go to Scholar’s Academy. He knew that an excellent quality middle school would grant him better entrance opportunities to high school, high school to college, and college to a fulfilling career. The males in the Huang family hit puberty/reached adolescence earlier than average and so by the middle of sixth grade William was feeling the effects of manhood. Unlike my father and me William matured very quickly. He has great command of countenance and possessed great posture. He already has a blueprint mapped out for what he wants to be in life. His goal is to be an engineer that deals with the auto, computer or aero industry. He has middle school under his belt with his attendance to Scholar’s Academy, ranked #7 in NYC’s top 10 middle schools for the 2012-2013 school year. He wants to nail Stuyvesant in the specialized high school exam. After that he wants to satiate himself with a college education at MIT (though I told him that Princeton is the better choice but he was adamant that MIT is more suitable for engineers). William is the definition of a man who knows what he wants.
Right now it’s been all talk but no credentials to back it up. After completing the sixth grade in an academically competitive environment, William emerged with a flat 98.0 average over the course of two terms, with three marking periods per term. Having just completed the first marking period of the seventh grade, William speaks softly while carrying the big stick of a 98.83 average. Over the course of his 12 years of life, I have rewarded William with video game console after video game console and game after game for his academic excellence. William is more of the reserved type though, and even told me to save up money for the future instead of buying him all these games. Indeed that’s what he does. From what our parents and relatives gave us over the course of previous Lunar New Years, William has saved up $300 plus worth of red envelope money. One day I asked him “William, what are you going to do with all that money? Are you going to buy candy with it? Maybe a brand new pair of Jordan sneakers?” He said “no, that would be a waste. I’m going to save up for college with it.” I’m glad I asked my parents to give me a brother in fourth grade. I’m glad that he turned out not only fine, but mighty promising. That is something I can never live up to.
I was never the academically-oriented or socially tuned person. I almost failed the second grade and struggled immensely throughout middle and high school. Whereas William gets his high nineties grades fairly easily, I struggled to get 85’s in middle school and 80’s in high school. I just wasn’t built the way I wanted to be built. William has begun his puberty stage in life. At the age of 12 he stands at a modest 5’6” while I only stand 5’7 1/2” fully erect. He is not as skinny as I am. His hands can not fit in my largest gloves. I am a perfect size 8 U.S. sneaker. William often times shifts uncomfortably in his size 10 1/2 Adidas, as if a big toe wanted to burst out.
Between family members and relatives, Li Huang is the failure and William Huang is the model child for a successful life. I am the lesser of the two. A part of me is happy and a part of me is ashamed. My brother will one day surpass me in life as he already has in the game of chess. That’s right. Ever since the middle of the sixth grade, I can no longer defeat him in the game of great wits. I am left wondering why I was put together this way, why I am not more like my little brother. But I am also happy. Happy that my brother didn’t turn out like me and that he has a very bright future ahead of him. Happy that in my family there is finally some compensation.