It all started when I googled my dead brother and two old mug shots popped up. Literally, they popped up. It was unnerving to see Brian looking at me, big as life, back from the dead, in a county photo shoot. It was also funny. He was funny. In one of the shots he appears to be winking but I have to attribute the wink, laughing to myself just thinking of it, to an exalted state of being- being fucked up that is. In the second photo, his eyes are big, his mouth is open in a perfect circle and he’s wearing county orange, which is oddly flattering to his skin tone. I get the feeling he’s playing with The Man, entertaining booking cops who are likely familiar to him. It’s September 1997, two years after his diagnosis and six years before his death. He looks so healthy; tan, great haircut and that hippy beard. He was true to himself. I still admire that.
The success I had in finding Brian, led me to dig deeper to get the dirt on dear, old, Dad. Nothing there beyond the social security death index. I have no forgiveness in my heart for that poisoned sonofabitch. Even though I don’t believe in heaven or hell, I hope he’s slow roasting on a spit. Just last week, the meaning of biblical references he made in the last conversation I had with him, was revealed to me. What made him assume that I would be familiar with his god? Over twenty years later and the meaning of his conversation infuriates me. I don’t care that he was a raving, psychotic, lunatic. There is no forgiveness here. He was bad, mean, manipulative crazy. Religion attracts nuts; science, not so much.
I googled the man from my illustrious first foray into wedded bliss. I was happy to discover that he adopted both of his wife’s daughters. They’ve been married over 20 years. I looked at the neighborhood he lives in. He is, apparently, still playing fast pitch softball at 59. He must be healthy. Good for him.
Why leave well enough alone? I opened Pandora’s box a bit wider and googled the first boy I thought I loved. I haven’t told you this before but he is an Achiever; has a Ph.D., expert in his field, accomplished at just about everything he attempts, and is a NYT bestselling author. Relax. He’s a non-fiction writer. I suspect he has dedicated himself to the business of writing for success. Please understand. I am not envious. I don’t believe he loves to write as much as I do and, forgive me for saying so, I know it isn’t an effortless, joyful, endeavor. Good for him. This is the kicker, he is retiring very soon. He’s six months older than I am. I know exactly how that happened. He applied himself. Seeing the way his life evolved makes me grateful; grateful I didn’t end up there. I like it better here.
I googled myself too. The very first thing that appeared is the archival record from the city where my husband and I got our marriage license. I love a happy ending.