My brother B and I are less than a year and a half apart in age and world's apart in every other way. When we were at dear old St. W grade school, he played the part of the big brother and he stood up for me when I was picked on. And in high school, when he started driving, I got rides to school with him. His friends were nicer to me than he was by then. In fact, I dated one of his friends for awhile. It didn't work out. D was as possessive as they come and even at the tender age of 16, I knew damn well no guy was going to control me.
So we fast forward to our adult lives. You've already read some about my path. His was completely different. Out of all four of us siblings, he was the only one to finish college. He majored in Theology and became a religion teacher in Catholic high schools and has since worked his way up to Assistant Principal at the high school he works for in Florida. Yes, a much much different path than me. He's also on his third wife.
When he was married to his second wife, T, we shared a duplex. They lived on the bottom, N and I on top. I can't remember how long we lived there, two years maybe, and not once did we go out to dinner or have movie night together or do anything at all socially. Not once. When T was away, B would make a beeline up to our place to hang out and talk. So yeah, I guess T didn't like us... well me. There is no reason to dislike N. I can come up with lots of reasons to hate me, and apparently she did. It matters not, chick turned out to be a total psycho anyway. She may get her own blog post someday. Ahh the stories!
B and I though, we have nothing in common, other than the fact that we come from the same family. We argue about politics, about abortion, about religion. He is self righteous and a pompous asshole. He is always right. He is the golden boy who can do no wrong in the eyes of our parents. When he speaks, they listen. That shit really frosts my ass because it's me who's here, doing everything for them. When we had to have a ramp built onto our existing deck to accommodate dad's wheel chair, we couldn't afford the $1800 price tag. We had already bought them a bed, a TV, had the driveway paved and the bathroom modified. So I went to my brothers and sister for help. At the time, my sister was struggling financially but she said she would do what she could. J, as always, was more than willing to help. B flat out said no. He said this was my parents responsibility and he would not contribute. I was pretty stunned, but not as stunned as I soon would be. This is when B gave me "the speech." It went something like this... "Mom and dad are now your responsibility. If they need something, you have to take care of it. It's not my problem. Don't come to me." That's mom's golden boy. Mom ended up getting the money from Grandma for the ramp.
I spared my mom the knowledge of this conversation for a long time. I figured she wouldn't have believed me anyway. Case in point... many years ago, I was out of work. It was getting to be Christmastime and I didn't have any money so I bowed out of gift giving that year. In previous years, and in years since, other members of my family have done this. When one of us bows out, we all bow out. That is, unless it's me bowing out. Then they just skip me and buy for everyone else. If my sister bows out? No one buys for anyone. If either of my brothers bow out? No one buys for anyone. But yeah, when I bow out, oh well... too bad so sad. I guess it has something to do with being youngest? I don't know. So it was one of those years where I bowed out. Admittedly I was sad, not because I wasn't receiving. I don't care about that ever. But I love buying something unexpected and seeing the look of surprise and joy on someones face. Fuck your lists, if I can't figure out what to buy my own damn sister, then I'm pretty lame. So I was sad. I had to sit there and watch everyone give and receive (I had a few things from parents, parents always buy no matter what). I wasn't crying, I wasn't making any kind of fuss. I was just a little sad. B grabbed my arm and pulled me aside and said words I will never ever forget, "why don't you just fucking leave. Nobody wants you here." I looked at him like he was nuts and said, "what?" He said, "you heard me, get the fuck out." You don't have to tell me a third time, I turned around and started for the door, tears rolling down my face. My mom asked where I was going and I said, "leaving." She freaked out and tried to stop me. I told her, "your son told me to get the fuck out, so I'm going." She didn't believe me. Her angel would never say such a thing! He did. And I left. I went to N's house. We were dating at the time, and had the breakdown of all breakdowns.
A month later it was my birthday and that was the first time I saw the whole family again after that hellish Christmas. B was there. He came over to me, looked at me and then punched me in the arm playfully and walked away. That was apparently my apology since I never got a verbal one. Seriously, is it so hard to say you're wrong? To say "I'm sorry I hurt you"? To say, "geez I was such an ass and I'm sorry"? To say anything that would make it better? Resentment can last a long long time so why not make the effort to make things right? I know I've had to eat the proverbial piece of humble pie now and then. And while I don't enjoy it, it's infinitely better than damaging a relationship irreparably. If I'm aware of a hurt I've caused, I do try to make it right if that person matters to me at all. And if I don't know, or seem oblivious, I hope the hurt party will tell me so I can make it right.
B and I will probably never get along, but we do talk to each other now and again. He likes to call me if he has a question about food or if he's made something he found particularly good. He likes to call me if one of his friends did something really really stupid and we get a good laugh. We talk maybe four or five times a year. I'm fine with it. In the end the fact is, he doesn't know me at all and would rather make his assumptions about me and my life. Maybe I'm doing the same thing, but after being on the receiving end of the two incidents I just told you about, I don't think I am.