PART 1 (Last Week)

My brother has grown increasingly agitated as the week progresses following his diagnosis. It’s the first week of his new job and he has been putting himself under additional pressure by working overtime, to hopefully impress his new boss and earn extra money. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights he arrives home hours after he should have, getting lost on the highways of Dallas. Twice we’ve talked him through to finding his way home, one time our call gets cut off because he forgot to charge his phone; I spend the better part of three hours that night wondering if I should be driving around Dallas trying to locate him.

Throughout the week we have increasingly strange conversation topics, verbal retracings of high school events and college experiences, loud laughter in the bathroom when he should be sleeping, conflicting stories of his job and boss (one day they’re fantastic, the next they’re horrible); he also speaks of an overwhelming sense of appreciation and nostalgia for his childhood and our parents.

Saturday morning he loses his paycheck and after helping him search his car and his room he accuses me of stealing it. I tell him matter-of-factly that I did not, but he smirks and says it’s cool, he just wants me to know he knows. Later that morning he finds it and apologizes. We hug it out.

My sister’s in-laws and our grandmother are in town, and my nephew’s 1st birthday party is scheduled for that afternoon. The crowd and kids and chaos prove too much and my brother locks himself in her bathroom halfway through the party. I find him and we go for a walk. He rants and falls silent, again and again, sometimes tearing up at how much the world has changed and how overwhelmed he is by adulthood and love and children etc., at times he doesn’t make any sense and frequently he is unable to finish a sentence.

Saturday evening my brother opts out of the “family” dinner as we are on our way to my sister’s. Monk drops me off and turns around to get my brother home as he insists he just needs a break, a good dinner and early bedtime. Monk and I return that night to find him just starting to cook and obviously stressed about something. As the three of us talk (and talk, and talk) he informs us that my sister’s friend was messing with him earlier, he feels bad about how he handled the party, behaving (in his view) badly, how fucked-up my sister’s in-laws are... We dismiss most of it in good humor, but agree whole-heartedly on that last bit.

It is a long night (and has been a long week) and I’m growing impatient with the conversational loop, just wanting some downtime, a little peace and quiet and, honestly, a break from my brother and his constant presence (and neediness) in our house. I start to tune out here and there as the words continue falling down around us like snow knocked off a tree branch. Later that night my brother is still awake and too restless to stay in his room; finally he asks me for an Ambien so he can sleep. I give him one and eventually collapse into bed myself, exhausted, with a vague sense of unease.

Sunday I work (massage) most of the day while Monk and my brother visit with my sister and grandma. After another uneventful dinner the three of us go home where my brother has a complete and total meltdown. He insists my sister said something “really shitty” to him which has made his blood boil and his sense of betrayal is sharp (even though he can't remember exactly what she said). He tells us he's scared and doesn’t know what’s happening, why he accused me of stealing his money, how sorry he is about that, how lonely, how touch-deprived, he just needs someone to love, he’s fucked-up… There is sobbing and yelling and distrust and I’m holding and rocking and reassuring him and exchanging ‘oh my god holy shit’ glances over his head with Monk to acknowledge we have landed somewhere foreign and bigger and scarier than we might be able to handle. When he finally calms down my brother seems… different. Confrontational. Still restless. He comes downstairs twice while I am having a late night phone call with a friend, striding purposefully into my space, pointing a finger assertively at me and giving me (I know this sounds absurd) a very hostile thumbs-up gesture. I go upstairs for bed after this odd, semi-challenge thing and the dogs get into a fight on our bed. Short-lived but ugly just the same, an obvious result of the weird energy that is threading its way throughout the house. Monk and I end up sleeping with the bedroom door locked, for reasons we can’t quite (don’t want to) articulate.

2 comment:

Blogger Beckalicious said...

I think it's time he moved out...

6:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

AM catching up. With the door locked... Sounds like you guys were scared of him and his eratic behavior.

I don't like when people get drunk because their behavior can be so eratic. One minute they can be laughing, the next screaming and violent. It scares the SHIT out of me. With some people you don't know what can tip them off. His behavior reminds me of that. It is scarey because you can't predict his behavior. And its not like you can put him in a room and let him sleep it off. You're living this 24/7! You don't know what's going through his mind and what he's capable of. I would have locked the door too!

Am so very sorry you're having to go through all of this.

11:45 PM  

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