Keeping Peace

He tells me about doing things he’ll never be able to do. I know he won’t. Deep inside he knows it too. Mostly, we talk about how great it was when we were kids. It wasn’t great but I pretend it was.

He likes to compare himself favorably to others. He can be spitefully jealous. He’s wasted opportunities that the rest of us didn’t have. He used up all of his second chances.

About every third phone call, I have to search hard for our common ground. My heart is calloused with anger from countless disappointments. I rescued him hundreds of times but I couldn’t save him once. He still doesn’t listen.

He wonders what will happen after he dies. I tell him, “You can’t remember where you were before you were born can you? Well then, don’t worry about what happens after you die. I think it’s just like it was before you were born.”

I was the first one to see him when he woke up at the hospital. He was on a respirator so he couldn’t talk. He looked at me and he mouthed, “Am I gonna die?” I said, “Oh Sweetie, you’re doing so much better than you were last night.”

When I am away from him I’m so goddamned angry I don’t know what to do. When I see him my heart melts like ice cream on warm pie. I want to scoop him up and hold him close so he’ll get better. I want to fix him.

I can’t imagine what goes through his mind. He whitewashes some of the facts because he couldn’t stand it otherwise. I know that. I try to maintain a peaceful silence.

From 2009, two years after my brother broke his neck as the direct result of his narcotics addiction. Human beings have an amazing capacity for adjustment. Both of us have become accustomed to his present reality.

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About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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6 Responses to Keeping Peace

  1. Joe Pineda says:

    Very soft spoken. It talks of a broken heart in its road to healing and peace.

  2. gkinnard says:

    Damn. I don’t know what else to say.

  3. Your anger/ice-cream-on-pie range of emotions is familiar. So, so sad.

    You wrote a lot over the past two days. Were they all written in that time period? If so, what was it that set off that writing spree? They were all so powerful. (Well, Dog’s Life was just plain fun.)

    • elroyjones says:

      I took a high dive into a pile of things I had written, tightened up some of the sentences I liked the best, and put it out there to see what would happen.

      Vidalia is from 2006, Keeping Peace 2009, Empty Hours 2009, Orderly Affairs 2009, & Fine Memories 2011. There was a lot of sadness in our lives from 2003-2008 and, as is usually the case, I understood it retrospectively.

      Coconut continues to be spoiled. My husband says he won’t miss her when she goes but I noticed she had cold-cuts for breakfast!

  4. Pingback: Contemplating Joe | elroyjones

  5. Pingback: Not Here Anymore | elroyjones

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