What’s a normal day?

I still wonder about you, how you’re doing and what you do all day.  Today was a pretty normal day for me.  My client rises around 7, and we start his morning routine.  We spend the first 3 hours of the day in the bathroom.  I feed the dog, I wash dishes, I do laundry, and I check in on my client over and over.  Then I help him shower.  He’s a quadriplegic, I help him for several days at a time.  I would take me a long time to list the things I help him with.  He’s also a good friend, and while we sat by the fire and chatted, my mind wandered.  Talking about being younger and the people we used to know made me think of him.

Maybe you have a friend like the one I’m talking about.  That friend of the opposite sex, purely platonic, maybe.  His name was William; I suppose it still is.  He always went by Bill.  I still remember the first time I saw Bill, and it was 15 years ago.  We were in gym class, 12 years old.  I locked eyes with him across the gym; I’d never been more mesmerized in my life.  It turned out gym wasn’t the only class we shared that year, most of our gifted classes were together.  It would be that way until we graduated high school together, as 2 of the smartest slackers anyone knew.  Sharing classes and projects, we learned that we shared a similar taste in music, movies, clothes, friends, and a lot more.  We had a similar apathetic attitude and aptitude for calculus.  We became friends, and we could run in and out of each others homes and rooms easily.

Somehow he never seemed to notice that I had the biggest crush on him.  He seemed to notice everything else; he seemed to be the only person who could see right through all my pompous crap.  After we became good friends, it was like we were of one mind.  We both dated, and I know neither of us ever had a suitor who wasn’t jealous of the friendship.  We were the kind of friends that could exchange less than 5 words, a ton of eye contact, a nod, and walk out together arm in arm.  I have never had the kind of closeness I had with him before or since.

I had always had my suspicions he felt the same way, but for some reason that was the one thing that never came up.  There were long nights spent in the back of his truck staring at the stars and talking for hours, and treks into the woods that brought us home well after dark.  There were lingering hugs as we got older, and always those eyes staring into mine.  He had to know, he could see it.

I’m not sure how we did it, but we lingered in that limbo for 13 years.  Then he decided to move across the country to sort out some of his problems.  Knowing he was leaving, Bill and I spent a lot of time together in the week or so leading up to his departure.  I didn’t know what I was going to do without him.  I’d literally seen him at least a couple of times a week since I was 12 years old, usually more.  One night, after everyone else had left, and it was just the 2 latest night owls remaining, Bill kissed me.

Looking back now, I’m not sure how or why, but that kiss unleashed too much.  We didn’t have enough time left to deal with it.  The kiss led to the talk, and the talk led to the argument.  The argument over who should have told who first, the only argument we ever had.  Suddenly there was blame, and anger, and hurt feelings.  Next thing I know, I’m storming out.  I’m screaming how I hope he has a nice life out there, and how I never want to see or hear from him again.  He’s yelling too, but I’m not listening.

He left 4 days later, that was over 3 years ago now.  We haven’t spoken, or text, or e-mailed, or communicated in any way.  It’s just a normal day, and I really miss Bill.  I wonder who you miss.

I wish the world looked like my cartoon dreams

I wish the world looked like my cartoon dreams

Mostly Harmless?

I talked to my mom the other day.  That’s not unusual.  I love my mom, not just as a mother.  She’s a good listener and a good friend, I think she feels the same way about me.  We went through the pleasantries.  She thanks me again for her Christmas gifts.  She asks about my travels and my work.  My dad is good, his medication is expensive.  The rest of the family is good.  We talk about her sister some, and that’s a whole issue itself.  My mom’s sister, my aunt, is lovable and neurotic.  Eventually things drift to my brother, as they often do.

Greg, my brother, will be 20 soon.  Greg has never worked, and didn’t finish high school.  He did get a GED.  He still lives with my parents.  He sleeps most days from around 10 am to 5 or 6 pm; he spends his time awake alone, in his room.  Greg spends most of his time on the computer, no one knows what he is doing.  His interest in gaming seems to have waned a few years ago.  Greg showers once or twice a week, hasn’t had a hair cut in years, doesn’t shave, and has never flushed a toilet to my knowledge.  Greg doesn’t interact with others unless he has to, and it doesn’t go smoothly.  His speech patterns are strange, erratic.  His volume and pitch change randomly.  Sometimes he is able to stick to a line of conversation, sometimes he goes on wild tangents.

Greg has always been interesting.  He was born screaming, and he didn’t stop until he could talk.  I’m 8 years older, I remember most of it, he was difficult.  He screamed, and screamed, and nodded off for 15 minutes, and screamed.  My parents tried different formulas, different schedules, ignoring him, strapping him to them, and anything and everything anyone suggested.  Still Greg screamed.  I couldn’t sleep, my grades slipped from super star to average, and I started falling asleep in class.  My teachers thought I was being abused or on drugs.  Greg started hitting and biting and soon as he was able.   He was threatening as soon as he could form thoughts.  We kept knives in a tool box.  Some days, every chair in the house would be in the yard and we’d all be locked in the house, at war.  When things got ugly, weapons had to be removed.  If you took something away from Greg, it had to be AWAY.  Rules didn’t work, scolding didn’t work.  There were chain locks at the very top of exterior doors, to slow him down.  He has choked me with a table cloth.  I had 8 stitches in my head from a remote caddy he threw at me.  My childhood medical record is extensive, and yes, CPS investigated our home.  I’m not sure why they opted to do nothing, but they found my brother to be the source of my injuries, and his own, and left us alone.

I moved out at 16, my brother was 8.  He did not improve.  He got in trouble at school for fighting, for cursing, for not doing his work, for turning in violent work.  Greg went to alternative schools, and was in behaviorally and emotionally disabled classes.  Greg took medication, and went to therapy.  Greg hit a police officer in the face when he was in high school.  Greg has attempted suicide, been institutionalized, and totaled my parents car while running away to meet someone he’d met online.  Greg has had a list of diagnosis longer than my arm, and none of them fit, and none of the medication worked.  Nothing ever worked, no one could ever help.

My mother and I have always disagreed about Greg.  Maybe it was watching knives come through my bedroom door, or watching a child blow through it with all his might, but I lost hope for him.  I believe he is dangerous, and that he needs help before anyone is hurt.  I see a darkness that is bottomless, I see how he doesn’t care for any of us, not even his family.  He scares me, he always has.  My poor mom, she sees her baby.  I can’t imagine how she’s seen all the things he’s done and still believes it, but my mother tells me that he’s mostly harmless.  I look at the scar from where he broke a glass and sliced my arm.  No stitches, no one is home to take me to the hospital.  Duct tape works.  I was 14, he was 6.  I wanted to watch MTV, he did not.  I shake my head, I tell my mom I love her.  When we hang up, I just wish I could fix it for her.