familiar place.

If I ever do write a book it will be about addiction. Not mine, my brother’s. I've got plenty of my own-- but none of them run lines as deep in my skin as my brother’s addiction. Crack's a bitch like that, always pulling you back just when you've got a clear head and a decent job, baby on the way, and a wife at home. Not like I would know. All I know is my mother's voice, cracking on the other end of the phone, not from emotion- we're of strong stock, and we don't break easy-- it's just a bad connection, the 3000 miles between us and the conversation we hate having. But we have it. Always. Because we've lived with my brother’s addiction for over 20 years now, and it's ours as much as it's his. My mother worries he's depressed, I do too. I worry it will be his job, his marriage, his general sadness that will lead him back to the crack pipe. But you never know. I never know. And I stopped feeling sorry for him and I stopped being angry and all I have now is my mother, her voice loud and wise, if not cracking just a bit. But I can still make out the sounds, the familiar words, dancing around the thing we don't want to call out but we do, because we are not delicate people, we name things for what they are. And when it sounds like my brother, her son, is dangling his feet too close to the edge we tell him to visit his therapist an extra day, we say, don't use-- don't go back there again. And then we hold our breaths and we talk to each other and we let out a deep sigh and after years of this we always have our war clothes near by, we are always ready for that call at midnight on a Tuesday, that message we never want to hear, ready to pull out the armor from under our beds, strap it on in the middle of the night and walk straight into battle again. And even if we wanted to walk away we never could, our hearts are too big. It's genetic. And this disease is my brothers but it's also ours, because he is us, and we've tried leaving him but we always boomerang back, it's our giant hearts, it's our family pride, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.


molly said...

Did I tell you this was beautiful? So well written. I wonder if your mom has read it. It's a truly respectful piece.

Christina said...

thanks moll, that means a lot. tt