Monday, September 29, 2008

Brother 2

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: "Oh, that brother story was intriguing and poignant! I wonder what ever happened with that - did he call her back?"

And the answer is yes. Yes, my brother called me back that very evening, and I spoke with him for the first time in twelve years - for the first time since I was in high school. It was a conversation that I have been rehearsing for all of my meager adult life, but none of the things for which I rehearsed were actually said. There were no ebullient greetings or angry recriminations or labored explanations. My brother told me where he lives (back on the East coast) and what he does (computers), and he said he's 51, and he said a friend of his has a baby that's really cute but probably not as cute as mine, and he said he played Frisbee-golf the day before, and have I never heard of Frisbee-golf? He seemed to not understand that he had been lost to me, utterly lost for twelve whole years, and that the loss was a deeper, more painful grief than I have ever, ever been able to admit to anyone. He seemed to think that there was nothing important to say. After about twenty minutes, we hung up, and I came away feeling dazed and parched, as though I had just tried to drink from a mirage. Our conversation had been woefully incomplete, almost less satisfying than no conversation at all.

I would be happy to be wrong about this, but I am almost sure that if I want to talk to him more, if I want to try again to have that conversation, I will have to be the one to call him. I don't mean to be maudlin or melodramatic, but in this moment, I truly do not believe that my older brother will ever call me again for as long as we live.