He is only fifteen months older than me. He had no time to be a baby before I came along, forcing him out of his cot and his buggy. Making him grow up too soon. Making him a middle child.
Well, actually I jumped in.
He told me not to, begged me in fact. When I failed to listen, he reached in and grabbed my long hair, pulling me to the surface before pounding his chubby legs down the path to get help.
There was the time we were in a pub garden and a kid 'from the other side of the tracks' decided he did not like me. He picked a log from the tree house and threw it, splitting the back of my head open as I tried to run, the blood utterly ruining my white dress.
It was my brother who carried me to safety, then went back to punch the kid on the nose.
There was the time that I phoned him, petrified, from someone's house who I'd trusted and been let down by.
He never asked a single question when I begged him, sobbing, to come get me.
I'll never forget the sound of his car tyres screeching as he pulled up outside. He held my hand through the stares and whispers in our small town. He held my hand on the way to court and back. He told me not to feel guilty for someone going to prison.
He's not just my hero. Once, when he lived on a farm, there was a fire. He knew there was a farmhand locked in the barn rooms. So he wet a tea-towel and put it round his face, before kicking the door down and carrying the man to safety.
He's not just a hero for the big stuff either. He is a hero for skipping with me when I was bored, for letting me sleep in his bunk bed for six weeks straight after I watched The Omen.
He is a hero for that time I weed on him in the middle of the night during a camping holiday because I was too scared to wee outside. In the morning I said he had done it.
He was 13.
He is my hero for teaching me how to fish and play golf and drive a car.
He is my hero for paying for me to get my hair done after a boyfriend dumped me and I felt rubbish.
I have an illness. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I have spent the last six months with casts on both my feet. There are days I cannot get out of bed because of pain and tiredness. There are days I cannot lift my children. There is no cure, but there is medication to control it.
I am so lucky. My amazing husband carries me down the stairs when my feet say no to walking. He runs my bath, he injects me when I need it. He works like a dog to provide for me and our girls, so I can just work on getting better.
When my brother first saw me in my casts, he cried. It made him feel sick to see me that way he said.
Here's the thing.
Recently he's been saying his hips hurt, and now his shoulders are hurting too. He is always so tired.
My brother is getting sick like me. Except he does not have someone to carry him up and down the stairs. He can't lie in bed all day. He has to work to provide for his family, even when his shoulder says no.
Sometimes they are so poor, even with all the work he does, that food runs out before pay day.
If I had 20k I'd give every penny to him.
He could stop work long enough to get on top of his illness, and when he went back to work, he could start up his own business and work hours which gave him time with his family.
He is the reason I had my last two children fifteen months apart. If they have half of the bond my brother and I have, they will be the luckiest sisters in the world.
He is my best friend.