Today my youngest brother and his first real girlfriend broke up. Secretly my jaded old soul was kind of relieved. "They're teenagers," I said with the gruff tone of somebody who thinks she knows better. "They have so much life to live."
I seem to have lost touch with my heart for a moment. Forgotten or shellacked over holes in my plastic armor. I forgot what it feels like to hang up the phone, indefinitely.
It was the first time I felt like a big sister. There are seven years dividing the two of us. I was always doing my own thing as my brothers sort of grew up together in their own world of boyhood. A world more concerned with asserting their own prepubescent testosterone through the jumping off of roofs, the scraping of elbows and jokes that earned punishments instead of laughter. They knew nothing of my birth control or hidden life of secret parental deceiving . My perpetually locked door kept out any inquiries as to what it was like to be a seventeen-year old girl. My turned up speakers leaking out hormonal disenchantment and a heart too blue to be true from under the door acted as a translator for the alien tongues us boys vs. girls spoke. We had nothing in common but the name and blood we shared and the love that punctuated boughts of sibling torture. And before they evolved out of their baby fat I had already moved out.
When he posted heartsick status updates on Facebook tonight I felt a twinge of pain in so many different ways. I felt bad for him sure but I also felt guilty. I felt guilty for not being there enough. For not counseling him more through our parent's divorce because I was too busy running away from them and finding myself.
"But I was alone for everything," I try to justify.
But it isn't about enduring the pain alone that defines oneself is it? It's about what we do for others in THEIR pain, in their time of need.
And so, I ignored the part of myself that plays the wiser when I know I'm not. I'm just another human being. And I commiserated and listened. And I remembered the day I thought I'd never be happy again and all the songs and angry, hurt lashing out that followed. I spoke honestly and I hoped it helped.
I think kids of divorce perceive love differently. For my brother it was tragedy to see something fall apart because he wanted to be different than my parents, wanted to keep believing in love and holding on to it. For me, well, I'm still trying to work on not seeing every relationship as impending heartache, a broken home; restart at thirty-nine with little to nothing but mouths to feed and hearts to mend.
Cynic or believer, we had both had a broken heart. And now we had something in common.
I sent him a text before bed and I reminded him that life goes on. That experiences that he won't even be able to perceive yet will happen. That people are good. That yes, yes, you'll probably be depressed for awhile but one day you won't and things will be different. And that I loved him.
Even if he didn't love anybody, or feel loved, tonight.