Monday, June 27, 2011

The Brother

I don't often talk about my brother. This is mostly because the things that are notable are painful. I love him, but he has been the major source of pain for my family.

When we were young we shared a room and he was a great older brother. He's three days shy of two years older than me. Playing together, hanging out, it was good times. I don't remember at what age, specifically, but I think that when I was in the second grade he moved out of our room and got his own. From that point we have done nothing but drift apart.

As time went on, his friends weren't automatically also my friends too. He started to be meaner and pick on me and make fun of my naivety and ignorance. Being two years younger has it's problems. You're close enough in age that there's a feeling that we would be roughly equal in maturity, but that's completely untrue. So there's this expectation of equivalence that is consistently not met and constantly made fun of and exploited.

Things didn't really get bad until I was in the seventh grade. He had just started high school and gained himself some less-than-savory friends who introduced him to marijuana. This set things in motion. From here, his grades started slipping. His use was, of course, eventually discovered by our parents and the ensuing drama caused our entire family a great deal of pain. I distinctly remember going into the closets in the garage just so I wouldn't have to listen to the yelling on a couple of occasions.

He got me to try marijuana on a couple of occasions, and I did it with a friend of mine on a couple of occasions. By the time I was in high school, however, I had sworn to myself that I would never do it again because of what I had seen it do to him and our family.

He was a straight-A student for the longest time, but he barely graduated from high school. His first semester of college, he stopped attending classes after fall break and, failing all of them, withdrew from college after one semester. What followed was a string of lost jobs and alternatively living by himself and with my parents.

When I went home for Thanksgiving Break my freshman year of college, I had to pick up my then-girlfriend from the airport because her flight had been cancelled. I brought her back to my parent's house to spend the night until her flight in the morning. My brother came home that evening out of his mind on some kind of much more harsh of a drug than marijuana and spent a long time with his head in the toilet with my parents yelling at him. This is pretty much exactly how one would not like to have an evening with your girlfriend go at your parent's house. We went out that evening.

Later that year, he entered the Marine Corps Reserves, which I hoped would turn his life around. However, when he got back and I got a chance alone with him to talk, I realized that it hadn't had any sort of permanent affect on him.

His life has straightened out a bit since then. He still hasn't held down a job for very long, either by quitting or being fired. Now he's going to be a fireman and has joined a different military reserve group. The word is that he's going to be deployed to Afghanistan next year.

Things are slowly getting better, but I'm still waiting for all of this nonsense to stop. I just want for his life to stabilize, for him to find something that he truly enjoys doing, and to stop this reckless behavior. We haven't had similar views or interests in a very long time. I just want my brother back: the one who played video games with me, the one who I felt close to, the one who I felt proud of. I wish I knew how to help him.