I Wonder what He Dreams
Today is my brother Teddy’s 64th birthday. I’ve been anticipating it for days. We don’t communicate often. He doesn’t participate in social media and doesn’t use email; anachronistic perhaps. He lives in a world of music and cigarettes and insecurities and suffers from bipolar disorder complicated a bit by paranoia, sheltered in a veterans’ domiciliary in Lake City Florida. That is all so different from what I expected when he was a beautiful, skinny little blond boy, almost as full of love as the love he received and needed, concerned for the weak and poor everywhere, but for all too brief a time, an idyll that died with his parents’ divorce, a complicated affair poorly handled.
His teens were apparently spent in a haze of drugs and music into which his now very reformed sister apparently introduced him, she denies it, but it was the sixties after all. I was away in a very different world of boarding schools and military education. He married young and very, very unsuccessfully, to a woman who had her own serious problems, a compounding of errors made worthwhile only by the birth of a very special daughter. Unfortunately for him and perhaps for her, they’ve never developed the relationship they both needed. Fate and destiny are cruel sisters.
He’s not had to work since his psychological discharge from the army, a very mixed blessing that assured he’d never have to suffer want but which also assured he’d never realize his potential, and then that someone would almost always be seeking to separate him from his monthly stipend under a veil of purported affection or an offer of chemical ecstasy. His defensive reaction, a profound suspicion of those around him whenever they mentioned money, eventually protected him from the pretty vultures who sought him out, but it also destroyed his relationship with his daughter, the person he most loved, although he never managed to demonstrated that love in a way she could understand. So terribly, terribly sad for both of them.
Today he is sixty four. I miss him very much but because I pressured to make him more than he was ready to be and did it too often, being unable for too long to accept him for the person fate had molded, I make him very nervous when we interact so that interaction is rare, usually only twice a year, on Christmas day and on his birthday. I’ll be calling him shortly, probably trying to get him to reconcile with his daughter, which will raise his defenses and end our call. So very sad for me, so very sad for him and so very sad for her. But as I have always, I love him unconditionally, a mixture of a brother and a son. And my eyes will moisten as I imagine might have beens, as I do more and more as I too age.
Hope seems still to spring eternal but as in so many other things the flow from that spring seems weaker today. I wish him all the very best, I wish him happiness, I wish him love, I wish him security and serenity. I guess lost in a world of music and smoke may not be the worst world available but he deserves so much better, lost within him, that little blond boy, almost as full of love as the love he received and needed, concerned for the weak and poor everywhere, but all for way too brief a time.
I wonder what he dreams.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved