Alice and the Slap

The other day, I found out where my brother lives.

Leonard has been missing-in-action for a few years now to almost everyone, including our mother. He works full-time at a very responsible job, which makes me proud, although I really cannot see him doing what he does (taking care of people), since he is mentally ill and abusive. But I'm still proud of him. I just never want him taking care of me or anyone I know.

The saga began many years ago, when Leonard "met" his future wife on the Internet. They felt it was "meant to be". She lived in Australia, he lived here. It was love for sure. He moved to Australia, they got married, then he came back home because things weren't going so well. Surprise! They worked on it, and she decided to come to Canada for one last try at the marriage, which she did back in April 1999.

A month later, she was on our doorstep in tears. It was over, and she needed a place to stay until she could get back home, and she had no one but us. She stayed with us for two weeks until she settled everything, got her plane ticket back home, and left. I loved her, but Leonard was not meant to be married (more on that another day). I miss her, but she has divorced Leonard and the family. I don't blame her. I would have too, but then again, I would never have married him in the first place.

Because I took her in, Leonard has never forgiven me. He says he can't trust me anymore because I told her something he told me not to tell her. Yeah, that's what I mean. Dealing with Leonard is not only very confusing, it's extremely frustrating and difficult. So, ever since then, Leonard (who used to be like a best friend to me) has estranged himself from the entire family, except for our mother (that too will be in another post!! I bet you can hardly wait).

Leonard lived with my dad in his home, in the basement suite. He didn't pay rent, worked full-time, and was a lazy ass. My dad passed away January 2006, and Leonard had to move out because we were selling the house. And he did move, but he didn't tell a soul where he went. I had his email address and his cell phone number, but that was it. He wanted nothing more to do with any of us. As far as he was concerned, we were dead.

But now I know where he lives (someone I know found out by chance and told me), and although I really have nothing to do with him, it gives me a sense of calm and comfort to know where he is. It's the big sister in me. Very strange, really, because he's still non-existent, and I just hear things third hand from my older brother once in a blue moon, but now I feel more solid, like he's okay. He's always been my little brother, and always will be, regardless of how distant we may be, and how many complications there are between us.

I'll never forget when we were kids, hanging out together. We fought all the time, but loved each other just as much, and since we are only 14 months apart in age, we pretty much were together 24/7. I had a friend, Alice, and one day, Alice and I were playing in Alice's backyard, which really stank of automobile oil and splintery old wood. I could get to Alice's yard from ours, although it meant a dangerous climb over a rickety wooden fence and barbs. Often, I would just walk over by going around the corner and down a couple of houses. This day, Leonard would not leave my side. He never did. But Alice didn't want Leonard to hang out with us girls. He was three years old, very cute, but a pain in the backside just the same. And then Leonard said he had to go to the bathroom, and when Leonard had to go to the bathroom and actually announced it, it was a good day, because he was the kind of kid who refused to be toilet trained. So I told him to run home and tell Mama. He obeyed, but wanted to make sure we would wait for him. I said of course we would, and I meant it. Alice, however, had other plans. She commanded me to hide so that Leonard couldn't find us and would return home. So we hid, because I obeyed everyone back then. Leonard came back, and I heard his little baby voice calling my name, beckoning to me. My heartstrings were being pulled somethin' fierce, and I had no choice. I had to let him know I was there for him. So I jumped out from behind the green manual lawnmower, the half-empty paint cans, and scattered rusty nails, and called his name. He smiled and started running toward me. Alice was upset. Very upset. So upset that she ran up behind me, swirled me around in extreme anger, and slapped me across the face. That was the end of our friendship. Ah, the memories.

I will never get used to not having my brother around, not having him to joke with, talk to, and hang out with, but he got very abusive, and for my sake and my kids' sake, I had to distance myself from him. And although it's for the best, it's still so hard to accept. There are many times I wish we could go back 20 years, and be the way we were, best of friends, confidantes. But that's not the way life is. He's not able to change his ways or his opinions, and so this is the way it's going to be. Life's like that, isn't it?

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