About a year ago I looked for a brother of mine online. A brother I’ve never met. A brother who (used to be) estranged from my biological father but who I’ve wanted to know more about. I found someone with his name on facebook. I “friended” him. Sent a message something like this “I think you might be my half brother but if you’re not Adam Szydel’s son, just ignore me” and I never heard back.
Until the week before last when he “friended” me back and confirmed he’s my half brother and said, breezily, that we’ll have to find time to chat at some point.
I constantly feel my family life has an element of surreality. My whole brother, unacknowledged by our mutual father, is such a brilliant artist his work sometimes makes me want to cry but we rarely talk, he’s not a family guy so much. He loves me in an abstract way and I have always loved him viscerally and unconditionally. Still, I don’t call him very often. So who the hell is not the family person?
Turns out my half brother (the one I’ve never met) is a professional photographer. So now I wish to god I could get Zeke and Orion together because Zeke should be a professional photographer.
What the fuck does any of this matter? Brothers don’t really care that much about sisters. Not the way sisters care about each other. Except that my mother’s sister doesn’t give a shit about my mother the way I give a shit about mine.
My mom is going into surgery in less than two weeks and I’m scared. It’s been exactly a year since she was in the hospital fighting for her life. This time my sister won’t be here. My brother probably won’t be here either. Neither of them can afford it, aside from any other considerations. If I had a million dollars I’d fly them both out.
I’d make a great matriarch if I could afford to, you know, take care of everyone.
I don’t want my mother to die. I love her so much.
This is the first time I’m admitting to myself how terrified I am. How I have so much family and yet so little. What the fuck difference does having family make if they’re never around, if you don’t know half of them, or half of them don’t give a fuck about you?* While my mom was fighting for her life her sister was insisting on selling her only security. Fucking bitch.
Don’t really have faith in family. Yet I love my sister and would house her with my last penny if she needed it, would do the same for my brother, for my dad (the step), for Philip’s brother, for Philip’s father, for my cousins (even though they wouldn’t likely do the same for me). If my two half brothers, almost complete strangers to me, needed my help I’d do what I could for them.
Goddamn it. If my biological asshole father who I’ve disowned was facing homelessness I’d house him too. Fucking careless seed-spreader who doesn’t recognize his own image in my brother**. God, if I could get him to take a paternity test I have 100% confidence in the results.
Old records. Old tunes. Old tropes.
*Not talking about Zeke or Tara.
**The one he spawned just before divorcing my mom to marry my first half brother’s mother.