This post has been floating around in my head for while now. I am not sure where to begin, or even how to go about writing this. I want (I need?) to talk about this weight in the corner of my heart, which has been tugging heavily at my conscience for years. My brother. Or is he? I don’t even know anymore.
Both of my parents were married and divorced before they met and had me. My father had a son with his ex-wife, the oldest of our reconstructed family. My mother, on her end, had 2 boys. The three of them are only 3 years apart, and I came along about 10 years after the oldest (my dad’s son).
Even though our family was a “patched up” one, my parents always made it a point to treat all of us the same. There was no favoritism, no golden child. We all had chores and responsibilities, and they always made sure each of us felt special. I never had problems with my 2 brothers on my mom’s side (aside from the normal sibling bickering that can occur between a nosy little girl and her older brothers). With my other brother, however, it was never easy.
I always got the feeling that he never liked me. I always got the feeling that he wished I was never born. And before one thinks I am over-exaggerating, I will say this: I am pretty sure my parents always knew something was wrong, too, because they never left me alone with him. They never asked him to watch me, not even 5 minutes, while they went to the store.
For years, he would get mad at me for no reason. He would insult me, or command me to do things (“fetch me water” “get the F out” “F-ing go away”). To me, it was all just him and the way he talked. I was never scared of him, and I never really thought anything about his behavior. Until one day, he wanted to “play” and shook me so hard that he dislocated my shoulder. I was 5, he was 15. I remember being happy that my brother finally wanted to play with me, and then I remember the pain in my shoulder. I thought it was an accident, until I saw my 2 other brothers’ reactions. I think they beat him up in secret. After that incident, things started to change a little in the sense that I started to be a little weary of him. Not much however, because you know, he was still my big brother – and why should I be scared of him?
On and off, through the years, we did this dance where he would get mad a me for no reason, stop talking to me for months and then one day start talking to me again. Maybe he thought that he was hurting me. Maybe he thought that eventually not talking to me would eat up at me. The only thing his behavior did was to make me realize that I did not need him in my life. I was sad at first, because I did not understand how siblings could be so cruel to each other. Eventually I just gave up and stopped caring. That moment, I instantly became the “bad person” in the eyes of everyone else in my family: why wasn’t I trying harder to get along with him? Why couldn’t I just put my pride aside and try to patch things up?
I had had enough. I had had enough of being treated like shit by someone who never liked me, and never even pretended to like me. The last time we spoke was about 8 years ago. He needed a favor from me, and at my father’s request I did help him. After he was done with my help, he again stopped talking to me. I was 20 years old. I was not a little girl anymore, and I clearly saw the situation for what it was. I finally told my father about how he treated me through the years, and I also made it clear to him that I would not be talking to my brother ever again. That day, I buried him. I cried, my heart broke into a million pieces – and then I picked myself up and moved on. Since then, life has been much happier. I warned my father that he was not an honest person and that one day he would hurt him, too. My father did not hear me. He was so hurt that his 2 kids were in that situation. He wanted to believe I was wrong, he needed to believe I was wrong. So I let him.
A few years later, my brother’s girlfriend got pregnant. I warned my parents not to get attached, because I had this gut feeling that the situation was not going to end well. Again, I was the bad person – why did I have to be so damn negative all the time? 2 weeks after the baby was born, my brother kicked my parents out of his house when they came to see the baby one day, and stopped talking to them. He let them get attached just enough that it would pierce their hearts to not be able to see his baby girl. That was 5 years ago.
Since then, my parents and him have had no contact… until last week. We found out a couple of years ago that he had moved to our town. Negative me immediately thought that he did it on purpose just to hurt my father. I’ll never know if I was correct. Anyway, last week his girlfriend ran into my mother at the grocery store and struck up a conversation like they had always been the best of friends. 2 days later, my brother waved at my mom to follow him to their house while she was buying fruit from our local organic farm stand. He invited her in and talked to her like nothing was wrong.
It turns out that they now have 2 kids, which no one knew, and they are now married, which no one knew either. Good for them, but I really don’t care. It also turns out that his girlfriend is having a hard time watching their 2 week old son, and she has no support from her friends or her mom since they all live so far away. It turns out she really wishes she could take a break sometimes and do something nice for herself, but she does not have anyone to watch the baby… do you see where I’m going with this? Yup – the only reason why they were/are being nice to my mother, is so they could dump the kids on her whenever they need. Once again, they need a favor and come running. My mother made it clear to them, however, that it was not going to happen. She just told them that since she went into retirement, she spent all her time traveling and therefore she was never home. Good girl! My mother did not tell my father about their little encounter, because it would only stress him out. My brother really hurt my father to his core. I am so proud of my mother for having his back.
Every once in a while, I’ll think about my brother and a little piece of my heart will ache for a moment. It’s only fleeting, and the more years go by the shorter the pain lasts. He is like an old scar, getting less and less sensitive as time goes… The only thing I can do is raise my 2 boys to be nothing like him.