You, my older brother, tormented me while parents were away at work or watching tv. You, curious and wanting to engage with the world, explore, learn and interact with people enraged your parents who naive and shy, only thought their role was to control into submissiveness. Good kids are submissive to parents and do what they are told, stay silent, but smile, sweet like Normal Rockwell portraits (superficially). You left on a covert adventure that would never be condoned, returned to home after a couple of days missing, but met with prepared rage: army blanket folded, jeans, underwear, t-shirt ready to go. Locked-up in a ‘facility’ with a roommate, humiliated with visit by grandma, mom and little sister. Finally free from the facility, sent to group home. Made connections. Then, granted home weekend visits. Don’t remember what happened that Saturday night, but Sunday morning playing Nintendo, mom was angry about the house, messy as usual, and wanted me to clean it up (I did that all the time to finally see her happy). I asked, “but what about Jimmy? Does he need to clean also?” “You are right” she raged and went to pound on his door. No answer. She found him, hanging. I followed, and saw. Layers of army blankets hanging like sheets drying, but obscuring him. Go away, she said with white face. I, in my purple pajamas went to the street, unsure. The neighbor did not answer the door. I came back. She took me, white in the face and shaking, to the other neighbor. I went in, they talked so I could not hear. They set me up with the Nintendo, which drowned the sound of the sirens. The women offered to brush my hair, but that had not happened for six years so I declined, uncomfortable. My mom came back and brought me clothes and asked me, twelve years old, if I knew what suicide meant. Silence met with silence. She arranged for an old friend to pick me up. They came, we rode in the front leather seat of a huge Oldsmobile. Silence. I was at the house, silence. Then, my older sister came, brought me to her boyfriends rental. There I sat alone on the couch, and then played Nintendo. Finally home after some unknown span of time, I remember the home, unusually clean, vacuumed rug with the path off the gurney visible. Only at age 45 do I realize that she cleaned, while I played Nintendo across the street, and before the ambulance came. She cleaned to hide the usual filth that we lived in. Back at home, I stand in the driveway to escape the interior silence. An inquiring neighbor comes over to me and asks if he is ok. I, unable to speak turn awkwardly until the neighbor leaves. I never cried. The funeral happened. No one ever said his name again. His room was a void, never mentioned except as the “corner bedroom” until many years later my dad moved in as his ‘office’, but then it was called “Jim’s room”. They never called him Jim. I don’t miss him. I never cried. They never talked about it after it happened. Today, they seem to forget their role, and only miss him.

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