As the rain beats gently against my home, I find myself neither asleep nor awake, but in a somnambulist state. With sleep, I can escape the memories, fears, pains, and regrets that plague me, even if the escape is ephemeral. Yet, I am growing old; I tire of being heavy laden, and weary. I seek your indulgence as I attempt to excise one of my personal demons.
I still harbor a small amount of enmity toward my older brother. The last few years saw our relationship improve due to the tragedy that beset him and by proxy, our family. Yet, old hatreds are hard to discard because they become almost second nature to us.
You may remember from previous journal entries that I grew up poor and lived in a double-wide mobile home. It wasn’t always so. When I was a small child, my family had a house. My dad had a corporate job where he worked 9 to 5. Mom was a stay at home mother. I had friends that I had known since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My big brother was my hero. He was there to help me learn to throw a football; he was there to play games with me; he protected me from the school bullies. Before my paternal grandfather died, my Dad had lost his job. My Dad had spend a lot of time with Papaw Partain because Papaw Partain had leukemia. During this time, we depended a lot on my maternal grandparents for the basics, such as food. After Papaw Partain died, we moved to the land that he had in Southern Gwinnett (and where my parents still live). Life was a little hard at first. However, I had new friends, a new school, and I still had my older brother. When I got to the sixth grade, things changed for both me and my brother.
My brother thought that I had reached the age where I was supposed to put away childish things and try to be like a teenager. When I did not do so, he took no pains in pointing out my buck teeth, my speech impediment, my unkempt appearance, and the rest of my shortcomings. In addition, I did not care that I lived in a mobile home or that I wore clothes from Wal-Mart or hand me downs. I believe that I reminded my brother that we were poor. I will have to explain this to all of you later, but in the South, being poor and being white is a cardinal sin. So, my brother spent less and less time with me. And what little time he did spend with me was to remind me that I was an embarrassment to him and to the family. When my friends turned on me for the same reasons, my brother was nowhere to be found. As time went on, my brother simple ignored me as if I did not exist.
As I got older and found my own identity, I tried to put the past to rest. When Kim, my brother’s wife and Madison, my brother’s youngest daughter died, my brother and I made peace with each other. Yet, the ghosts of the past haunt and taunt me. They remind me of how he abandoned me, rejected me, and declared me at very turn for a number of years to be inadequate. In an instant, I am transported to days of my youth. I can hear the disappointment in his voice; I can feel the condemnation emanating from the very essence of his being. His words resonate in the expanses of my mind. I cry aloud that I am not worthless; that I am not pathetic, or that I am not a disappointment.
The ghosts of the past sing their siren song and it stirs the demons in me that want to seek vengeance or wergild. The blood in my veins boils and simmers with rage. With every passing moment, I lose the ability to determine where my hatred ends and I, as the individual begin. My world shakes violently like an earthquake; I cannot see clearly; I slowly disappear and all there is left is instinct, rage, hurt and hate. I want to scream; I want to cry; I want to give my anger a voice to set it free. Yet, all I can do now is sleep.