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Hi. I'm trying to think of another description to put here. Any ideas? I'll try again at 420.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Must Have Been Four

When I was about 4, my brother and I used to sit by the radiator heat thingie in the bathroom, sprinkle cereal underneath it and wait for the ants to come out and play. That's the last time that I remember him being anything but churlish with me. I don't know what I did to annoy him and at this point, I don't care. Whatever it was didn't happen in this millennium...nor did it happen in the last decade of the most recent millennium. I know that because he hasn't spoken to me in decades.

In my family, you don't talk to people when you have an issue with them, you simply act like an idiot. It would be nice if we could actually tell each other why we're annoyed, but that isn't the way my family works. So, instead, we just sit around for years and wonder what we've done wrong building up anger, confusion and frustration. There's no chance that any wrongdoing can be repaired, and somehow that's OK with people related to me.

So, I have no clue why this particular brother treats me so badly. Perhaps he has a reason, I don't know. But, if someone wanted to be angry for decades, I have a good reason to be irritated.

When I was growing up, I was in charge of my 5 younger siblings because my father went to school at nights and my mother worked nights. I didn't even know that there was anything odd about a young girl who had no social life until my friends started asking me if I could EVER do anything or if I had to care for the kids every night. There wasn't a thing I could do back then, I just came straight home from school, made dinner and took care of the wee ones.

One night, my sister was making noise. I was already in bed and she should have been as well. But, when I had her come into my room and get into my bed, my brother didn't like it. There was nothing wrong with what I did, my brother simply didn't like me so he had to do something and his choice of actions was nasty and violent.

Since I put my sister in my bed, I was in a sleeping bag on the floor of my room. My brother marched up my stairs and when he got to my room, he started pounding me in the face. I couldn't really defend myself while on my back in a sleeping bag so at some point he decided that I had had enough and he started to go back down the stairs. With blood rushing from my face, I said, "I think you broke my nose!" He responded, "I think I did too!"

We were both right, my nose was broken and after I had bled all over the house looking for a bathroom that was unoccupied, my parents came home. I was tending to my nose so I don't remember what my father did to my brother, but I would imagine he was punished. I don't know for sure, but even the family scapegoat wasn't allowed to be a punching bag for anyone other than my parents.

Whatever his punishment was, he has apparently held it against me for decades. I don't remember him being pleasant to me since the ants. I don't even remember him talking to me since the ants except to tell me what a hideous human being I am.

He's never told me that I did anything wrong, he just goes along with the family dynamic of treating Margaret like dirt. I did see him at my mother's funeral and apparently, a death in the family is what it takes for my siblings to allow me to be blessed by their presence. During my mother's eulogy, the chaplain told us that he has asked my mother if she had any last words for her kids. Her dying wish was for her kids to be "good to each other".

It's been ten years since she died and not one of my brothers or sisters has seen fit to honor her last wish. Maybe they're nice to each other, I don't know. But not one of them has done a thing to make me think that they consider me worthy of a phone call, Christmas card or even a well timed "Fuck you!" The last gift I received from any of them was a necklace charm that said "Bitch." It would have been funny if it hadn't been the only thing that I have ever received from any of them...EVER.

It's a possibility that I did do something to annoy my brother. But, whatever it was, his payback has lasted far too long and has been far too harsh considering that I am his sister. This is one of my brothers who loves Bruce Springsteen. He came to Tampa to see The Boss a few weeks ago and even though I went to the concert too, I never saw my brother. My sister invited him and my father to her house on the day after the concert. I wasn't invited at all. My father went to the family get together which sort of endorsed the usual "ignore Margaret" theme of the day. I'm used to this crap but you would think that sooner or later, someone in my family would say, "Why don't we ask Margaret to come over?"

So, when Bruce sings, "Man turns his back on his family, he ain't no friend of mine.", I know exactly who he is singing about.

I have 2 other brothers...you'll meet one of them tomorrow.


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