Okay, I admit it, that title approaches clickbait status. But it does represent the three things that have been on my mind since my brother A’s visit last night.
I have a rather weird relationship with A.
When he was a toddler and preschooler, I was his favourite person in the world. Once he got over his initial fear of school and over-dependence on my mother and/or me (depending on the situation), though, he became pretty independent — and also rather uncommunicative.
In their adolescence our sister, M, was the family member closest to him, and in recent years even she has had no real clue what’s going on in his life. His decision to speak and act in my defence one day in 2008, against my mother’s outlandish and unfounded accusations, is the only thing that really stands out in the last 16 years of our relationship. He has sought me out occasionally, more to get an alternative opinion than to actually converse, but no more than that. And the frustrating wisecracks he typically made in response to attempts to draw him out contributed to an image of a an otherwise apathetic tech-and-fitness freak who lacked ambition.
E has, interestingly enough, proven able to engage A on some level through the years, though neither E nor I can quite put a finger on what precipitated last night’s sudden outpouring. Apparently my brother is a lot deeper, wiser and more eloquent than we thought; he also has pretty strong views on ignorance and one’s responsibility to self-examine and self-educate.
What struck me the most, out of the many surprising political, psychosocial and religious comments A put forth after dinner, however, was his statement that his greatest fear is that he will become a copy of our father.
Because one of my greatest fears is that I will become a copy of our mother.