So this next story is about a family trip. A few weeks ago my brother, sister-in-law and niece decided they wanted to come down and go to the zoo. Apparently their zoo sucks and ours doesn’t. So they got up at the butt-crack of dawn and drove 2.5 hours to meet me and off to see the lions and tigers and bears “Oh my”.
First disclosure, I actually hate the zoo. Well, maybe not HATE but dislike a lot. I’ve just never found it that interesting and it’s sad to see these animals in cages. But my niece loves all animals. A few days before my brother had asked about a couple friends to see if they’d like to come. I texted THE friend and in typical fashion he’d ignored the text as if it just disappeared into the universe without his knowledge and since I didn’t really want to hear some BS about how he never got it or some other excuse I’ve never brought it up. It’s painfully obvious that he only wants to be “secret friends” so I don’t know why I waste my energy on trying anything new. After that it discouraged me a bit so I decided to forgo asking anyone else and was just happy enough to hang with my little monkey.
They reached their first destination, my home, around 9:30 which if you know me then you know that that is to dang early for me especially on a weekend and I didn’t even get a chance to get my coffee in with fear that it might “kick in” at the wrong moment. I could already tell that my brother was agitated. Not really sure why but I didn’t care. It had been way too long since I got to hang with the coolest 3 and a half year old EVER.
She was sweet and immediately asked if I could sit next to her which was already a given. We were playing with stuffed animals the whole way there. By the time we’d actually pulled into the zoo it was already packed and hot and humid. Everyone stated where they wanted to go and what they wanted to see and so we commenced to finding appeasement for each. We saw the dinosaurs, tigers, chimpanzees and as he heat climbed so did my brothers temper. It was easy to see that he was going to explode soon and for no reason what-so-ever.
If you’ve been here, at my blog, for the long haul you’d know that my brother and I have always had a volatile relationship. He was an angry kid who chose to take it out on the most defenseless human he could. At that time it was me. I suffered years of verbal and physical trauma which finally was subdued when he went off to college and on a trip home one weekend a friend of his, whom I’d never met, caught my brothers fist mid air, right before it hit me. His friend looked at him and said, “If you want to hit something then hit me”. Mind you, his friend was a football player and much larger that he. After that, he never even attempted it again. That is another human that I owe a huge load of gratitude to.
But because of my younger years with him I knew what set him off, just how much he’d blow and how far to be back. He’s had anger issues for most of his life and he’s self-medicated about half that time with pot. I’ve always been a fan because if it wasn’t for that then I’m sure things would be much worse.
After a blow up in the car, for no reason what-so-ever his screaming was enough to almost give me a panic attack remembering all the ways he’d hurt me in my younger years. I’ve said before that the physical scars evaporated but the emotional ones never will. The moment I heard his start his screaming I went back into the 10 year old version of myself feeling invisible scabs being ripped off. Then what happened next brought me to tears.
I looked over at my carefree 3 and a half year old niece who was now playing with her new stuffed animals from the zoo and her body was frozen. Her face had the look of terror that I understood. From the look of her I could feel every single thing she was feeling in that moment because I had been there long ago and my only words for it was terrified. In that moment I wanted to ripe her out of that car seat, bundle her in a blanket and run far far away.
A few weeks after that, my friend in the Northeast and I were talking about that and I explained the version of the story that I remembered and he actually understood. He knows a lot of our history and he knows the history that my brother and I share. Growing up my friend was on my brothers side of things and now that we’re adults I’d say that he’s a much better mutual friend to both. I see him as another brother but one that I don’t have a terrible history with.
He ended up having a lengthy discussion about my brothers anger issues and situations that my friend had witnessed. None of it took away the pain that I felt for my niece and please understand that that is not a common occurrence with her around for him. It was just nice to talk to someone that knew the childhood stories of what I went through, listened to me and understood. That was exactly what I needed in that very moment and I am grateful to him for that.
The thoughts that come from the strangest places though. I knew at that moment that I would be a good mother if given the chance. But again, are my chances ruined because I’ve passed up so many. I would never be someone that would forgo the love for a man that I deserve just to have a child and I never have but does that mean that I’ve lost that part of my life? And so continues the regrets that I’ve had especially over the last few months.
These last few months have been a lot of things. I’ve seen dark days, black. I’ve been in physical and emotional pain. I’ve been depressed and bored. I’ve yearned for things that I once had and didn’t appreciate enough. But on the flip side of all of that I’ve also learned that the smallest of things can make me happy. The tiniest of deeds. The times that I’ve been the most happy were not being given luxurious gifts, expensive dinners or taken grand trips. I’m moved by things like someone taking the time to listen to me. I’m moved by the tiniest of expressions of love, caring and gratitude. I’m happy with the smallest surprises or the breaks from monotony. I smile at being the stories, the memories that others have to share. When people show loving concern. I have so many of those people in my life from my friend in the northeast who calls me and we chat away his entire 3 hour drive home, to my BFF who sends me messages that “even though you don’t want to talk I am here for you and love you”, to my GBF who calls or text every single day to see if there’s anything that I need, to my friend (the waiter that I barely know) who just paid for my entire dinner tonight.
It’s easy to be sad and depressed about the things that suck in life and the people who make you feel like less of a human than you deserve but it’s amazing when the other people in life make you feel exactly the way you want to feel at the very moment that you need to feel that. I have gratitude for all those amazing people tonight, the ones that bring me to tears in a good way.
None of that was meant to be a dig at the one person that I truly wanted all those things from. There’s lots of things that I cherish and that I am grateful for that he’s done or that we’ve done together. The times that he cleans, unknowingly with his OCD perfectionist style, I am grateful for. I miss the days that he would come to my door while I was “asleep” to (in my mind) check on me. I miss the days where he had climbed into bed, nothing sexual but maybe just to be next to someone else for a few moments. I miss the hand holding and the sweet kisses on the cheek and the hugs from behind. It feels as though it’s been an eternity since we’ve touched and probably won’t ever happen again. I miss the falling asleep together on the couch on a rainy day and having some part of his body accidentally find its way to mine to linger.
You see, all our most special moments to me are the ones that you can’t buy, measure or plan. They just happened and now, they’re all gone. It’s still a very sad place to be in when you find your heart empty and echoing the memories of yesterday. I can be grateful for all those things above and still sad that it’s come to this. God, I just wished that he’d just have paid a bit more attention to me and less to the social box inside a five inch piece of shit or to some new girl that so easily walks out of his life or that he still made the rest of the world disappear for just a few moments…
I’m not easily had and I don’t easily give. I wish he knew that this was a true, unique and meaningful gift.
Yes, things can easily be spun back to him in pretty much any story over the last few years but I will stop doing that soon enough and give him as much thought as is returned.
I give my gratitude to all those things above and the strength to move on.