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So this is simultaneously it
end of him, end of him
the two of them should run off together
bound by their would-be wounded souls
unchained to my inconvenience and instability.

I should give the international one’s number
to the local one
both law enforcement sorts
I entrapped them both
sue me.

Or better yet
leave me.

I yelled at my brother because he wronged us, because he wronged me. My aunt is suffering through cancer treatment that will most likely result in her death, but the odds being what they are and her will to live being what it is, there’s no other option. I yelled at my brother because he wants to believe she doesn’t know what’s going on. That she’s drugged up. That she mindlessly drifts in and out of a slumber from which she remembers nothing.

 

She’s conscious, you idiot.

 

I realized that he wants to believe—and the rest of them as well—that she’s dying without pain. I think it’s cruel of me, but I tell him, no, she is not out of it and she feels lonely and unloved and how could you not call her ahead of time to say you changed your mind and weren’t going be there?

 

I don’t know what it’s like to be her. In my own narrow-mindedness, I think I would like being alone. It’s heartbreaking, though, to see someone alone who doesn’t want to be. To figure out that your friends and your family are no where to be found. That you have less than a handful of caring people who visit you and a niece you were never close to as your primary source of support.

 

So I yelled at my brother, because he has illusions of his own good-guy and godly grandeur. He will tell you about Jesus, if you want. He will invite you to church. He’ll tell you God will set you free, but I imagine he would look puzzled if you asked him if he actually follows the WWJD mentality. For example, would Jesus bail on His aunt? How would my brother have felt if he were left to rot within the confines of four white walls and a number on his back? The rest of my family, they will shoot the breeze with you. They’ll adamantly make promises and say they are 100% behind you…unless they are out any gas money to come see you.

 

So, there you’ll be. Alone when you don’t want to be. Unloved. A chore and a burden. Outright, no one even bothers to say you’re not a bother.

 

You are a bother. You will continue to be a bother. Can you die now and let us bury you in the mud where you won’t take up our time and energy?

 

So I’ve made matters worse, at least for him. Now in addition to my unaccommodating aunt and her silly sickness, I have inconvenienced my brother with my anger. Why do you have to be like that, he asks. I repeat his question with bitterness in my voice.

 

 

I hang up.

This is me, dealing with myself. It’s not about him, she says. She wants you to know this with absolute certainty. This is a period of self-reflection. This means something, she says. Her urgency transcends her words. You’re not sure what, but there’s something you’re not getting. You’re missing something, or she’s missed something. Something is missing. She looks at you as if you’re to respond. Say something. Vague alarms go off in your head. She’s not quite there, again. She’s dramatic, but harmless, quirky. She’s someone to roll your eyes at, a decent show sometimes. But it can be too much. She can say too much. You can tell she sincerely wants for you to get it but is having a hard time bridging the gap between her broken synapses, between her mind and yours. Having a hard time finding the right combination of words that will transform her jibberish into meaning, something meaningful, to you and to her.

 

She’s having a hard time. She’s having an inconvenient time. But there’s nothing to be done. As hard as she is trying, you know there’s no connecting, there’s no talking it out. Rationalizing it. You listen for a few minutes more, maybe 10 minutes, maybe 20. Then, you have to shut her out. Make her stop. After all, she can’t stop herself. She is completely incapable of doing that. Really. You’re doing her a favor.

SOB with me

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