True Colors…

Ten years ago, in a telephone conversation, my brother’s wife, a woman whom I loved like my own sister, confided in me that he was drinking very heavily and that he had taken to hiding his bottles and she feared he was out of control.  She then swore me to secrecy, making it impossible for me to say anything to him or do anything to help.

Time passed, and I confess I probably should have tried harder to think of something, but as it happens I was going through a severe health crisis of my own; my long-dormant HIV had become full-blown AIDS and I was, as the doctors would have it, “presenting” with symptoms all over the place.  I had to stop working and apply for SSD, an appalling process that I will save for another post.

Fast forward three years to 2003.  My health was reasonably under control and I had met my husband the year before, so life was good despite challenges.  So one morning, unable to think of any other approach, I called Tracy at work and asked her simply, “Is Mark okay?”  to which she replied, rather hastily, “No, but I can’t talk about it now.”  We said a few more words and ended the call.

I didn’t think anything more of it until that evening when I received an email from my sister-in-law that was so burning with rage that I am surprised it didn’t set the computer on fire.  She accused me of trying to make her go behind her husband’s back.  She said I “sounded drunk.”  She said a lot of other ugly things and ended the e mail with a strict order not to contact her ever again.

Needless to say, I wrote back just once to inform her that I did not know what she was so angry about, but if she wanted to talk about going behind Mark’s back, she was the one who did it first three years before when she told me about his drinking.  I don’t remember what else I said, but I tried not to be too nasty.  I haven’t spoken to her or heard a word from her since.

Fast forward seven years to the present day.  A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog on WordPress by someone who calls himself “soberhorsethief.”  As I skimmed a couple of the posts, I realized I was reading my brother’s blog.  He has been a writer since he was old enough to hold a pen, and I would know his writing style anywhere.  Plus, there were several stories about our childhood that I recognized immediately.

Unfortunately, there was also a lot of ultra-neo-Con invective.  Now we’ve disagreed on politics for years; I’ve been a Liberal since college, and if anything he has become more of a Conservative than our parents were.  It was never a problem before; we either joked about it or agreed not to discuss it at all.

Well, two nights ago I saw a post about the Proposition 8 ruling, which my brother referred to as “dopey.”  Now I already knew he hated President Obama with a passion.  I did not realize that his hatred of “Liberals” would extend to the point where he would advocate denying me and my husband equal rights under his cherished Constitution.

I showed the post to my husband John, and we both commented on it.

His next move was to put up a phony post pretending to be a friend of Mark’s who was being attacked by “a couple of guys I don’t know because of my stand on same-sex marriage.”

I told him “nice try, brother, but I read your Mothers’ Day post.”

Next thing I know I get a very peremptory e-mail from Mark with the subject line “CEASE!!” claiming that he had given his “friend Rob” some things to post as his own material on his blog, and basically ordering me to stop fighting with him.

I replied that I did not believe for one SECOND (and I still don’t) that he would have given the Mothers’ Day tribute to our mother to ANYONE to post as his own work.

His response:  “Well believe what you want, but if that’s the way you want it, you better lose my address.”

I have spent the last SEVEN YEARS trying to re-establish a relationship with him; we are only a year apart in age and as kids we were inseparable.  But his actions today showed me only too clearly that he has just been waiting for me to give him an excuse to write me off, and I played right into his hands.

Well, so be it.  I have held out the olive branch so many times I lost count, and every time it has been slapped out of my hand.  I have run out of cheeks to turn, so it is time to shake the dust off my feet and leave him in God’s hands.

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