Tag Archives: siblings

david

David and I slide down the steepest side of a dirt and gravel hill. Our bodies rattle, plumes of dust rocket from our sneakers, we scream out in terror and joy. There is dust in our teeth, dust in our lungs. We have scraped our legs. Everything is blue sky and orange groves. Our stucco tract home is no more than a couple of miles away, but it might as well be gone. Our sister Sally is still there, neatly tucked into the sofa, reading, or playing Solitaire. She prefers to stay inside.

*

David tells me he sees visions of our dead mother all of the time. God inserts these images into his brain. God talks to him, too. He tells him to stop listening to Supergrass and Radiohead. I ask David, “If God told you to injure yourself, would you?” He hesitates before he says he doesn’t know. David was too young when she died. He doesn’t remember her.

*

David asks me if I have thought about my long distance phone service provider. I have not. He wears dark, shiny shirts now. Ties. Slacks. There is gel in his hair. He says “sweet” all of the time, like punctuation. He is a member of a pyramid scheme that has been banned in several states. I tell him I am not interested. I use very few words. I know I am hurting him.

*

David brings a Franciscan monk with him to Thanksgiving. The monk is a stereotype. He looks like Friar Tuck from that 1970s Robinhood cartoon. He wears a brown robe, tied at the waist with a rope. He is cheerful and round. He eats two slices of pie. I want to make fun of him, to shout to everyone, “There’s a monk at our table!” But he is kind and we take a photo together. I rest my arm on his shoulder and smile.

*

My friend Betony posts an Instagram of her brother on Facebook. His hair is brown, wind-whipped and frozen in place, and he wears a button-up denim shirt. He’s smiling. He looks like Betony, especially around the eyes. His fingers are curled around a tiny plastic figure. The caption says, “Love means making your brother pose with a Twilight doll.” I laugh when I realize her brother looks exactly like the miniature Robert Pattinson. They are wearing the same clothes. The hair, the complexion, it is all the same. Then, suddenly, I feel like crying.

*

David will propose to a girl this year. There will be a ceremony at the Catholic church where she lives and teaches. I am not invited. The news I receive about David never comes from David. I heard she has an extraordinary amount of siblings. 16? 17? Aren’t they all girls? That can’t be true. David holds signs outside of abortion clinics. He tells me he is praying for my children. David believes I should stay at home, but I can’t stay there. I can’t believe in God. We seldom speak, there’s too much to avoid. David will marry this girl and move back east, and there is nothing left to recover.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

little ray

Big-Idea

We used to call him Little Ray. My father named him after himself–he’s the first child from my father’s first marriage. I’m the third child from my father’s third marriage, and we’re about 14 years apart. We have never been close, but a little over three years ago, he began telling several of my siblings that he was going to bring one of his many guns over to my house and teach me “a lesson.” He thought I thought I was too good. He thought I was turning my teenage niece, his only daughter, into an atheist, a feminist, a liberal. (And maybe I was, though that has never been my intention.)

Ray has been using hard drugs, mostly speed, since he was 13 years old. He dropped out of high school at 15. He’s 46 now, though he looks at least 10 years older. His body has been through a lot. Ray knows a lot about history, particularly Civil War history, and when he is high, he can deliver a lecture that rivals that of any historian. When he is not high, however, he is barely functional. I have seen him spit in my father’s face. I have seen him in withdrawals on my father’s couch, stinking, sweating, raging. I have seen his eyes shine with pride watching his daughter perform a solo at her school assembly. I have seen him rip cabinets away from the walls with just his hands. Ray’s been to rehab before, and he always emerges with hope and plans. He has enrolled in GED programs before, community college classes. Once, when we were on speaking terms, he told me he was taking an astronomy class. “That’s so great,” I told him. And I meant it. There were weeks, months, when things were good again. But that hasn’t happened in a long time.

My father wants us all to get along. I tried to explain to him that it is difficult to get along with someone you barely know, especially when that person threatens to kill you. “He isn’t serious,” my father said, waving it away with his hands. He really wants us to get along, even if it means ignoring reality. I thought it over. Ray had guns. He was angry, irrational, and using methamphetamines. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I refused to attend any family function to which Ray was invited. I started looking over my shoulder when I left the house, and at work. After several weeks of this, with escalating threats communicated to various siblings, I finally just got angry. I decided to write Ray a letter, demanding to know why he was threatening me.

A couple of days later, I received a reply. The handwriting seemed erratic, oversized, pressed hard into the paper. If there were a font called Pain, my brother was writing with it. The note offered no explanation, but pleaded for forgiveness. It was difficult to read, and I instantly felt all of the built up anger dissolve. I just felt sad.

Ray moved back to Ohio last year, and he lives with his mother and his aunt now. His mother was one of the first people who introduced him to drugs, but she says she’s found Jesus and things are different now. He doesn’t have anywhere else to go at this point, and it isn’t going well. Ray’s guns are in storage in a public unit somewhere in Southern California, and my father foots the monthly bill. I am grateful for the distance.

When we moved into a different house, several months ago, I found the letter Ray had sent me. The sadness rose up again, and I crushed the paper in my hands and threw it away. He doesn’t know where I live now, and I don’t know where he lives. I used to call him Little Ray. Now, I rarely call him anything at all.

 

Photo credit: http://www.kenandpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Big-Idea.jpg

Tagged , , , ,

write-off

Image

There have been a rash of burglaries on our quiet suburban street, and the neighbors are whispering suspicions in front of our kids. Who was that dark man in the white car parked outside your house the other morning? It was my brother-in-law, actually, and we were going for a nice suburban jog through these quiet suburban streets. Oh, okay, they say. We should all keep an eye out. Yes, we should. Thank you, I say.

I have a son who is an obsessive worrier. He’s also too smart to fool. The what ifs fire rapidly. What if someone breaks into our house? What if they steal our car? What if they kidnap me? What if they hurt me? What if…? It will be okay. It won’t happen. I promise you it won’t happen. Your dad and I would never let that happen. “But it’s always a possibility,” he says, effectively dismantling any assurance I could ever offer. That night, he runs screaming into our bed in the dark, early morning. I wrap my arms around him and rub his back and he settles into sleep. The next night, he does not want to go to bed, but we convince him that it will be okay. When he’s finally asleep, I sneak in and make sure the blinds are closed tight, that no lurker could see him if they tried.

All of this is to say that I am going to work and I am caring for my children, and I am not spending my days thinking mean thoughts about my stepmother or her son, my half-brother, Jaden.

My father was looking for a babysitter so he can spend a weekend with one of his lady friends. He is at my house for a visit this morning when my stepmother texts him. She doesn’t want my little brother to stay at my house. She is worried that I hate him, that I will be mean to him, that I think I am a better parent. The bar is set very low on that last one. I do not abuse my children. I do not hit my children with high heel shoes, or make them kneel on gravel, or tell them they are worthless, or force them to hug their uncle who touches them inappropriately, so, yes, at the very least, I am a little bit better. “I am concerned,” she says. She is concerned that I will damage him. Oh, the irony! I love my brother Jaden. I am only ever kind to him. He’s not even two years older than my eldest.

I interact with this woman a few times a year. I send her a text message on her birthday. I send her a card when her mother dies. It takes a tremendous effort to squeeze out these tiny kindnesses. This woman was physically and emotionally abusive to me for my entire childhood, and I have managed to say hello and even I love you and continued to call her Mom instead of Lucy at the biannual family gatherings.

For some reason, this was it. We are finished. Here is the dictionary definition of write-off: “an elimination of an item from the books of account.” Lucy, consider yourself written off.

Photo credit: http://www.carfinderservice.com/car-advice/5-steps-in-preparing-a-write-off-interest-for-taxes-on-a-car-loan

Tagged , , , , , , ,
midnightpears

Just another WordPress.com site

The Winter Bites My Bones

Collected Poems of Dennis McHale, 1986-2013

A Birth Project

Transracial Adoption from one black girl's perspective

The guilty preacher man

Illustrations of an abandoned world

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

projectophile

\ˈprä-JECT-oh-fahyl\ (noun) 1. A lover of projects, especially those derived from scavenged materials and made more beautiful through paint, thread and sandpaper.

Return

Just another WordPress.com site

Another angry woman

Thoughts and rants from another angry woman

unkilleddarlings

Faulkner said, kill your darlings. I say, put them on the internet and let strangers read them.

MiscEtcetera v2

Random bits about libraries, digital culture, life, and writing

glass half full

This is my blog. I write a lot about autism, raising boys, and my own alcohol consumption. I also tend to cover topics like poop and toothpaste. You've been warned.

The War In My Brain

About Mental Health, Daily Struggles, My Cat, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head

Platform 9-3/4

A product of my boredom !

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Daniel Nester

writer, teacher, husband, dad, Queen fan, inappropriate, dilletante flâneur, Shader

a publisher of quality chapbooks

"To hold a pen is to be at war." -Voltaire

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers

%d bloggers like this: