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Don’t Box Up Your Feelings

| Related | October 23, 2014

(This story starts a few years ago, just after my mother passed away. For one year, my brother and I moved into a small condo together, but because of a series of bad (and sometimes quasi-illegal) habits of his I had to call it off at the end of the first lease. He was, needless to say, upset.)

Brother: “Oh come on, man. What’s wrong with you. Why are you doing this?”

Me: “Because you come home drunk more often than not, you leave me to do more than my half of the shopping and then complain when I ‘take from your half,’ I haven’t caught you but I KNOW you’re smoking weed in here and God knows what else, and when we moved in I specifically asked you to make sure a grand total of THREE THINGS were brought over, and you ‘lost’ two of them and broke the third!”

Brother: “But we’re supposed to BE there for each other, look out for each other!”

Me: “The way you ‘look out for me’ when you come home stinking drunk and decide to wrestle me, which usually means ‘hugging’ me with your arm around the neck until I have to HIT you to get you off me because you’re choking me?”

Brother: “I would never do that!”


(This goes back and forth at least once a day for the week or so, including his calling my cell phone while I’m in the middle of work. Finally he moves out a week before the date, and assures me he’s taken everything he wants/needs and anything left over either I can keep or is garbage. I ask him to triple check because at this point I’m furious, and except for pieces of furniture he claimed were his which never were, I’m throwing everything else out. Fast forward to now, nearly a decade later, he calls me up out of the blue.)

Brother: “Heyyyy, brother-man!”

Me: “What is it, [Brother]?”

Brother: “Hey, did you still have any of the stuff from when I moved out?”

Me: “The couch and the ottoman. That’s it. Why?”

Brother: “What about my briefcase, and the couple of stacks of my personal papers?”

Me: “None of that was left behind, and besides that was what, eight or nine years ago, now? NO, I don’t have it!”

Brother: “I don’t believe this. I asked you to hold onto it for me!”

Me: “BULL! You told me to THROW OUT anything you left behind because you took anything you needed! And you DIDN’T leave that behind! I don’t believe this, a decade later and you’re STILL trying to blame me for YOU being a screw-up!”

Brother: “You know, you were always like this. You NEVER stood up for me. You NEVER helped me out! We’re brothers; we’re supposed to help each other out!”

Me: “The only thing you ever helped me to do is realize that family doesn’t always treat you right. And I helped you every day I DIDN’T call the cops after walking in and smelling the whole apartment reeking of pot. Fix your own mess instead of running away from it, for once.”

(I hang up the phone on him. He calls and leaves three messages that day going from indignant, to angry, to obviously drunk and regretful, but I don’t return any of them. Finally, a week later, I get this message.)

Brother: “Heyyyy, [My Name], it’s [Brother]. I found the stuff. Turns out when I moved up to Syracuse and back I never unboxed it. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to look for it any more.”

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