Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lunch with the recalcitrant brother

I was thinking my whole ride home about Sarcastro's question about why it bothers me so much that the recalcitrant brother is a racist. I'm of two minds about it. I don't care that he's a racist. I don't like it, but it's not my business. Hate who you want, but live and let live. Which, then, is the problem with his association with the Klan--a group not known for their live and let live policy. I find that deeply embarrassing, both for him and for me, that he seems to lack the ability to extend that common courtesy to others. And so on the ride home I wondered about a lot of things. I wondered if I'd feel differently if I were married--if my primarily loyalty were to the family I created with my husband (even if that family were just the two of us and Mrs. Wigglebottom) instead of the family I'm born into. I wondered if I'd feel differently if we hadn't moved so much when we were little and I hadn't come to depend on my brothers as my closest friends and sometimes my only friends. And I wondered if I'd feel differently if it hadn't been the recalcitrant brother who's repeatedly stood up to the bullies in my life because I can't. I feel like I owe him so much and I feel fiercely loyal to him and I'd like for my loyalty to make sense without me having to explain my worst moments over and over again. I guess that's selfish and fucked-up on my part. Anyway, we went to Applebee's for lunch and talked a long time about the Butcher. When I told the recalcitrant brother I was walking home, he wanted to know why I didn't have a gun. "I have a gun within reach all the time," he said, leading me to wonder if a theme of my trip to Georgia wasn't "meals with men with guns." I told him what I told the Boy Scout--me getting a gun is just admitting that I'd like to learn how to get around with a very bad limp. After lunch, we walked very slowly around his neighborhood, while the littlest nephew rode his big-wheel along side us. We talked for a long time about our parents and then he told me how to fix our tub and I said that I'd see him on Thursday. And it was good and so I cried and felt so lonely I had to sit at the gas station and compose myself so that I could get home in one piece. All we have are each other, we three strangers tied together by fate and siblinghood, and we all want something for ourselves and each other that we don't know how to articulate. I still wish he'd come into Atlanta. It hurt my feelings that, when I told him I was coming, he said that he could come in without any trouble, his hours in the afternoon were flexible enough, and when I got there, he couldn't. But when we were standing in his bathroom, with him taking apart his tub so that I'd know what to do when I got home, I felt cared about and cared for and that was so nice and comforting and rare that it broke my heart.

7 Comments:

Blogger Kleinheider said...

I wondered if I'd feel differently if I were married--if my primarily loyalty were to the family I created with my husband (even if that family were just the two of us and Mrs. Wigglebottom) instead of the family I'm born into. I wondered if I'd feel differently if we hadn't moved so much when we were little and I hadn't come to depend on my brothers as my closest friends and sometimes my only friends.

You'd still feel the same. You're a good sister. Beautiful post, Young B.

11/20/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

The fact that he took his tub apart to show you how to do it, is very sweet. It illustrate how humans have good and bad. Just because he's a racist, doesn't mean that he doesn't have a caring, nice side too.

It's good to know that you made it home ok, especially since you didn't have a gun.

11/20/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger John H said...

If anyone needs a definition of grace that is not necessarily the dictionary 'version', but the real version, they need to read this post.

Wow....wondrous post..wonderful sister.

11/20/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Like everyone else said, great post! The way you write is like you somehow *know* how to poke my soul, or something. It's hard to explain. Anyway, wonderful post.

11/20/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

his son will have a black boyfriend in high school

11/20/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

The way you write of your mixed feelings about RB is eloquent and poignant. Beautiful post, B

11/21/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

That is a beautiful post, and a wonderful thing to read on Thanksgiving week.

I'm glad that you did have a good time with him and could be reminded of why brothers are not a bad thing to have sometimes.

11/21/2005 11:26:00 AM  

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