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My Brother and I are Assholes

March 8, 2017

My brother Paul followed through on his promise to spend time with me a few Saturdays ago. Well, I say “spend time with me” but what it really was, was him sitting in between me and his new boyfriend. So, it wasn’t like it used to be when he would come in from New Orleans and we would sit at the bar at Pamplona, huddled together giggling, people-watching and venting about our lives in general.

This time it was awkward. I liked his boyfriend at first. He seemed funny and down to Earth and his family was hilarious. But the more times I was invited to “their” house in Breaux Bridge, the more it seemed like Paul’s life wasn’t his own. He had, once again, melded himself into someone else’s life. Even at Paul’s birthday party, the crawfish was cooked and eaten the way his boyfriend’s family did it. The music was country. It was like Paul was a guest. His daughter and I didn’t feel comfortable.

Then came the comment at Pamplona. Somehow we got into a conversation where Paul was jokingly asking if it was ok that he and his boyfriend call their black dog the n-word when they called him in from outside. I assumed this was a joke. “No,” I said laughing. “That’s not ok.”

Then the boyfriend, speaking softly with his somewhat hoarse voice so I had to lean in to hear him, started spouting some conservative, Fox News talking points about how he didn’t think it was fair that white people were not allowed to say that word but black people are.

“Uhhhh,” I stammered. “Yeah it is. Makes perfect sense to me,” I said.

He continued on about how everyone was too sensitive and got their feelings hurt; the spoon-fed snowflake theory that is popular with right-wingers these days.

“Well, if you call me a cunt right now I’m going to be offended and say something about it,” I retorted.

He kept going and I just repeated, “Yeah, no…I don’t agree with that. Uh, sorry, I’m going to have to disagree with you there.”

Meanwhile, my brother sat silently, just looking from one to the other. I looked at him thinking, What the fuck are you doing? He doesn’t even share the same values as you.

A few days later, as I was clearing out my belongings in my apartment, I came across a painting Paul said he wanted so I texted him, saying I would leave it in the hallway if he wanted to pick it up.

“I don’t know when I can come by,” he replied.

“Do you want me to give it to someone else?” I asked.

“Ok. I’ll come by tonight,” he texted.

Oh, so, you do have time to come by after all, I thought.

I went to get some dinner downtown just to avoid seeing him.

“Are you home?” he texted later.

“No.” I replied.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When we were planning the Mansura trip, Paul said he was working that Sunday, which I knew meant he had to drive to Lafayette twice that day to walk the dogs at the vet he works for.

When we were driving back, Shawn, Amy and I, in Stephen’s car, Paul called Stephen. He answered, put him on speaker and informed him that everyone could hear him. After asking about the visit he said, “How was Marie?”

“Um, I’m right here,” I said from the back seat.

“Oh, Hi Marie,” he said. “We should spend some time together before you leave.”

“Well, you have until Thursday,” I said.

“I’m off tomorrow.” he said.

“Ok,” I replied.

“Why don’t you call her and make plans later,” Stephen advised.

The next morning I had bills to pay, a few loose ends to tie up and I wanted to go to Jefferson Island again. Around 9am, Paul texted, “Ian and I are going to a coffee shop if you feel like joining us.”

“Sorry, I can’t right now.” I replied.

Now, I know I could’ve gone and met them. And I know I’m being kind of a dick by not taking him up on his offer to spend time with me. But the last minute planning pissed me off. My friends have planned going away dinners for me. They’ve made every effort to spend time with me when ever they could. And here was Paul, three days out asking me to join him right then and there, without giving any consideration to the fact that I might have plans already.

Later that day he texted, “Are you free in the next few hours.”

“I’m on my way to Jefferson Island with a friend,” I said.

Ok, the friend part was a lie. One told to emphasize the fact that my friends are planning their time with me.

“I thought we agreed to spend time with each other yesterday,” he texted.

“You said you had the day off and I said, ‘Ok.’ I’m sorry if you misunderstood.”

I told him that other people have made plans to see me since I had only had a few days left.

“Got it.” he replied, the universal, two-word phrase for “Go Fuck Yourself.”

The truth is, I know I’m being just as much a dick as he is. I’m being stubborn and chicken shit. I would rather avoid him than have a confrontation and I know that if I see him there will be a confrontation. I’m doing that bitchy thing that I do by punishing him because I’m pissed off and hurt by how he lives his life. Is it fair? Probably not. Am I going to cave and be the bigger person? Nope.

I’m tired of being the big sister who has to smooth things over and be unconditionally forgiving. Fuck it. Just like the youngest child that he is, Paul has a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy for anyone else than himself that, for me has reached a point of infuriation. If he wants to smooth things over, he’s going to have to put some big boy pants on and think about someone else for a change and make it happen.

I don’t have to be the better person all the fucking time, goddammit.

 

Ok, fine. I’m hardly ever the bigger person. I know I’m being a dick. But fuck it. I get to be a dick to my little brother if I want to.

I never said I was perfect.

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