Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Mom has a blindspot when it comes to brother. Only natural, I think. She carves wax wings every time I come home, hoping he and I will mend our bond. That we'll all fly out of this twisted labyrinth, hand in hand, and escape the family curse together.
I tiptoe around this need. Ignore how much it hurts. I can't mend that part of her heart, not without sacrificing my entire self.
My daughter and I visit my home town for a few days. First time back in a year, and the amount of people who want to see us, even for a few hours, warms my heart. Brother works so hard to set a time and date for our kids to play together. I reject the idea, but mom's hope-filled eyes push me to accept. She has a vision of all her grandkids being best friends, always there for each other.
Mom's heart, not mine.
But I can't not try one last time. For mom. Even knowing exactly what's going to happen. Perhaps because I know. She'll watch the whole process and maybe...she'll see. Then I can end this farce of a sibling relationship without anymore of her meddling.
I rearrange my original schedule, call friends to ask for a different time, cancel a breakfast date. A whole morning for the cousins to play. We'll be there at 9am. My daughter is excited. Mom is so happy. But I already have backup ideas for when the morning playdate falls through, and let them both know it's a loose plan at best.
The night before our visit it arrives. A message from brother.
A birthday party. His kids are going to a birthday party instead. But if we come an hour earlier the cousins can have some play time.
No way of knowing if the birthday party is real, if he always knew there was a birthday party, or if the birthday party suddenly came up. Doesn't matter. Despite my detachment, the disrespect hits like a punch to the gutt. He's not only letting me know how little I matter, but how he will always treat my daughter.
I read aloud and look over at mom. Her face is ashen and shoulders drooped. She flew too close to the sun; her wings melted.
"I'm going to tell him why this isn't OK, mom, and that I'm done."
Eyes filled with tears, she nods. "Do what you have to."
It's a long message back, explaining every aspect of why what he's done will no longer be tolerated. I rejoice even though my hands shake. Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye. I choose to protect my daughter, and freedom for myself. The soul-stealing is finally OVER.
I stopped talking to brother two years ago. #nocontact
Never regretted it. Not once.
But mom still carves those wings.