Sunday, January 23, 2011

For the Love of Chuck

Most people think they know I have only one brother.

Biologically? That's true. At least...I think that's true. You know, that is unless my parents are hiding something from me. Which, by now, I suspect they're probably not. Although there are times where I still go, "I was totally adopted, wasn't I?" That's beside the point.

But I don't just have one brother.

There is another.

I met Chuck in 2004. I don't remember now how we met. I remember where...just not how. And I remember that we had precisely one "date"...that turned into a non-date because, well, he's my brother and ew. Because by the end of that non-date, we knew. We were family.

When I had my practice run at a mid-life crisis then, he somehow just knew I needed him and he called. He called at precisely the moment I felt most alone, most vulnerable, and he was there for me when it felt as though there was no one. Beyond that, during that same time, as he laid in bed basking in the afterglow with a "hot chick", he still took my call.

He was responsible for my salvation. Had it not been for him, I would have ended up back in Wyoming, living with my mother (not a bad place but humiliating). Instead, I found another home - a happy home for a time - another family, a life that began to be well-lived.

He was the guy who, when I'd had a bad day, stopped on his way home from work and bought me a bouquet of flowers. Just because I needed cheer. He was the guy who, when I needed to cry on a strong shoulder, leant me his time and again.

When he met the love of his life, the two of them created a silk bouquet of flowers and presented it to me as a way to remind me that, as long as I could gaze upon that arrangement, I was never alone. Because he never wanted to be "that guy" who made me cry.

I hadn't spoken to him going on 3 years.

While our relationship never distinctly changed, our living circumstances certainly did. We had to get out - for the same reason, for different reasons - and, when we did get out, we let each other go our own ways. He ultimately got married. I, well, didn't.


Initially, for me anyway, it was because I needed a break from the craziness - the single-mindedness that'd become our lives. After awhile, it was out of embarrassment that we'd let it go this long when we didn't reach out. Eventually, I would become paranoid. Maybe he didn't want to talk to me. Maybe he held me accountable, responsible. Maybe he blamed me for how shit went down. How shit is now.

Was I really as bad as I'd been accused lo these many years ago? Was I ultimately responsible for her Hep C? Her COPD? Her bi-polar disorder? For the club closing?

No.

As I sat up at the Matthaus this evening, talking to the (duh) Matts, the phone rang.

Chuck.

What?

I didn't answer. I knew this conversation would take time - time I didn't want interrupted - and I let it go to voice mail, all the while knowing this was a conversation I wanted to have, needed to have, had hoped to have for a long time.

But it was a voice mail I responded to as soon as I got home. A call I needed to make. A call I loved making. A voice I loved hearing.

We caught up...as much as possible anyway - can you really cram three years, a marriage, a new business, a degree, a Grotto, and a cat into a 90-minute conversation?

No.

But it was a start.

I love you, Chuck. No matter what happens, where we end up, how we end up, what AA meeting we end up in, I love you.

Always.

2 comments:

Teresa said...

That Chuck is a great guy. I'm glad the two of you had a chance to catch up. I need to give him a call soon too.

dolly47 said...

I agree,your friend Chuck is the "borther" we should all have. I have one and count myself lucky . xoxo