He loved to do everything his brother, Hayden, did. In the morning, Hayden would line up all his trucks in rows on the seat of the rocking chair. There were jeeps, small racecars, cars missing all their wheels --all sitting there waiting to be played with. He knew that he wasn’t allowed to touch any of them, so he would circle the rocking chair like he was circling an altar, glancing at the rows and rows of trucks with a look of reverence, itching to grab a few.
He always waited for Hayden to hand him one, he never let him play with the shiny red one, but sometimes he would let him have one with all its wheels. He would vroom and run the truck along the carpet, across the toy bin, up his mom’s legs -- wherever his brother went, he went, whatever his brother did, he did. Sometimes his brother would let him play with one of the big trucks, like the garbage truck he could squish playdough into or the cement mixer whose cab opened and made the perfect hiding spot for squished up bits of granola bar.
They would smash their trucks together, ram them into walls until the paint chipped and rained down on their heads like snow. The trucks were their universe. Their mom would try to play, but she never did it right. Hayden would try to show her, teach her the complex hierarchy of the different trucks and their specific jobs, try to explain to her the difference between a monster truck, a racecar jeep, or a worker backhoe, but she could never get it right. Eventually, she would give up or Hayden would shout at her, and she would stop playing. Then, they would continue as before, side by side, building construction sites or buildings, speaking to one another through grunts and car sounds, periodically shouting out things like “Move faster!” or “We need more mud!”
When they got tired of sitting, they would jump up, sprint through the house like horses out of the gate. He would climb onto the kitchen table, Hayden would run up the stairs, and they would volley shouts back and forth until they both dissolved into laughter, causing their mom to come running to check on them. Hayden would throw trucks down the stairs, and they would bounce off the floor at their mom’s feet like poppers on the fourth of July. Their mom never thought it was as funny as they did, and she would gather them up and place them on top of the fridge, holding them hostage until they both came to her in repentance.
Instead, Hayden would get angry and pull all the magnets off the fridge. He would help him by tossing them around the kitchen, aiming at cabinets and chairs. Then, they would both throw their bodies on the floor, kicking out frantically at the tile beneath them. He didn’t really like this part, it hurt his heels to kick the floor so hard, but his brother had taught him that this was the way things were done, so he followed suit. When his brother gave the signal, they would both stop and run upstairs to his room where they would dump all the toys from his toy basket into his crib and toss his books against the walls until they were exhausted. Then, they would trudge back down the stairs, shouting, “Snack! Snack! Snack!” Their mom would give them each a bowlful of goldfish, and they would sit on the couch together, stealing fish from one another’s bowls. Only after that would they return to the fridge, replace the magnets, get their trucks back, and start all over again.