Saturday, January 5, 2013


We were never like brother and sister. He inhabits my childhood memories, but his presence serves mostly to set the scenes in which events take place. He was neither my adversary nor my friend. I don't really know what he thought of me, if he did. I didn't think about him much. He was there; I wanted to be gone.

I was living in Berkeley when my parents separated. My brother was living at home. At first, my father moved out of the house, and he stayed in the house with my mother. Then, as part of the divorce process, my mother got an apartment downtown and my father moved back into the house. My brother stayed. I used to say, offhandedly, that my brother came with the house. He didn't seem to have any agency in the matter, or in any matters at all that I could think of. I thought that my brother was the kind of person who shrugged a lot.

One year, when he and my father were visiting up in Berkeley, my brother... exploded at me. He stopped shrugging, and yelled. I mistreated our mother, he said. I hurt her. I didn't care, I didn't try. It is the only fight I can ever remember us having. I went to bed in tears. He left the next day.

He had become my mother's only ally. And a few months later, he moved in with her. My father came home to an empty bedroom and a note on the kitchen table.

I saw my brother a few more times after that, when I visited my mother, but when that stopped, so did any contact with him. Perhaps because I never credited him with much agency or even personality, I began to see him as an extension of my mother. His only two acts I knew of had been to hurt me, then my father, both times on her behalf.

Look, I understand the problem with being angry at my brother because he won't talk to my father. I don't talk to my mother. We are, all of us, stuck in place, and he is not any more stubborn than I. But I am angry. This is what you need to understand: I do not know who my brother is or has been, now or ever, but I am angry at him anyway.

That is not what I came here to say, but it's important that you know that. Because I spoke to my cousin on Thanksgiving, and she told me that my brother has a blog. She reads it so she can better talk to him, so that they will have something to talk about. She sent me the address.

My brother has a blog.

It mostly consists of links to other things on the internet, usually articles and blog posts. On rare occasions, there is commentary. On even rarer occasions, there is no link at all, just something he wanted to say.

In between the links to articles about gaming, and internet privacy, and copyright laws, my brother links to Captain Awkward, to Yes Means Yes: Visions of female sexual power & a world without rape. He links to articles about transgender issues.

On Sunday, my brother wrote,

Love is desire. Who wouldn't want to ease the suffering of those they love?
A love that does not care about the suffering of others, isn't love.
To love, one must be willing to accept suffering. It is the price of caring...

...If I sought happiness, I'd find it easily, by simply abandoning all care for the world. I would rather abandon my life, than abandon my love. What I seek, is not happiness.

I want to care. I want to care so much it hurts. So, I do.

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