#6: Dear Chuck

Dear Chuck,

I’m sorry that I haven’t been around much in the last few months. I know it’s hard to keep in contact with our lives being so crazy, but I could have been a better sister. It’s funny; when we were younger I wanted nothing to do with you. You were my annoying little brother who hated school and played way too many video games. Sure I was protective of you; I mean no one else was allowed to pick on you except for me, but you and I were always at each other’s throats. But I miss you, a lot.

I don’t know when it happened…somewhere in between my mental breakdown and yours, we just started talking. It was during quiet moments when we were driving somewhere or alone in the house, but we just started talking, about everything. I remember the time you came into my room, and told me you lost your virginity. You were scared, or proud, just that you had lost it. You shrugged at me; the only time you lost your cool was when I asked if you told mom yet. You didn’t want her to know yet. I remember looking at you, and seeing the little kid who used to go crying to mom for everything; you are totally a momma’s boy. I knew you needed me to keep this secret for you, so I gave you my own as well, about when I actually lost my virginity. We are definitely our mother’s children hehehe. You smiled at me and simply walked out of the room. There wasn’t discussion about how you felt, or how I felt, or what it meant in the future. I simply told you to be safe, and if you needed anything to let me know.

You and I always had a weird relationship. Well, I wouldn’t say always. We were close when we were younger. When our ex-stepfather threw me into a wall because I had gotten out of bed to tell you goodnight our relationship changed. I don’t think I resented you, but what emotion I did show started to cut off. I played my roles well enough so no one knew what I was really feeling, and I took the frustration of my existence out on you sometimes. I’m sorry for that, you didn’t deserve it. Do you know that you are the gentlest guy I know? Or that no matter how many times you screw up and I just want to slap you over the head, I am still proud of you?

Even though I’m never lending you money…ever…just saying…hehe.

What you don’t know is how much I actually owe you. Mom knows; she and I have discussed it, vaguely, but I never told you. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to burden you with the knowledge because you were so young at the time, and then time just got away from me, and it has been 9 years since that night and I don’t think you even remember it. It was not long after I had told mom about being gay…maybe a few months or so. Mom and I, instead of talking, just screamed at each other…for months. I know how sad you were during that time; although we have a large family, mom and I were all you had. You hated that we fought so much.

It wasn’t a particularly special night. Mom and I were fighting again, except this time she stormed out of the house and left you and I home alone. Looking back…I was only 15 and you were 13, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. I thought you were asleep. I’m not sure if you ever knew, but the minute that door closed behind mom I decided to kill myself. I was so done with all the fighting and the anger. I wasn’t ashamed of myself for liking women. I was ashamed of mom for trying to blame her inability to accept me fully by saying that she was angry at me because I lied to her. So when she left I gathered enough Tylenol and vodka to do the trick. I had a knife in my room already, so I took everything back there. I can’t tell you why I walked back into the kitchen. I don’t know why at all. But as I stood in the kitchen, resolute in my decision, I never heard your door open behind me. It was late at night; you were supposed to be asleep. The last time I checked on you, you were asleep.

Yet there you were when I turned around, standing in the hallway and giving me a look that I had never seen before. Before I knew it you wrapped your arms around me and held me tightly, and I remember the warmth of your skin as you held onto me as if I would disappear if you didn’t. You didn’t tell me about how you hated that mom and I were fighting. You didn’t whisper to me that you were upset, or scared. You just held me, and told me you loved me. I would be lying if I denied how close I was to breaking down in your arms. The fighting had taken a toll on me that I never wanted to admit, but your warmth was the first comforting experience I had experienced for months, and I had to bite back the sob when you pulled back from me. A whispered goodnight signaled our parting and I was suddenly alone again.

I obviously didn’t kill myself that night, but I never told you what almost took place. A part of me thinks you knew, on some level, that something was terribly wrong. But I never wanted to burden you with the truth…I couldn’t. You still had that innocent glow on you that you held for so long; some of it still shines through today.  I’m envious of that…I had it stolen from me. I know you’ve had some not-so pleasant experiences, but stay that quirky guy I’ve always loved. The world needs it. I know that I needed you that night, without ever realizing that I needed someone, anyone, to save me.

I know I can be hard on you, but it’s because I know your potential. Everyone tells me about how much I will impact the world and blah blah blah, but no one realizes how much you have changed the world for so many people. Do you know that 27 complete strangers are happy you exist? They don’t even know you. They don’t know what you look like, sound like. They don’t know that you and I have the same eyes, or that we are exactly 22 months apart in age. They just know you hugged me on the night I was going to kill myself, and that you stopped me that night. They sat in a classroom, 2 hours away from you, and talked about you. Talked about what an incredible person you are, and talked about how grateful they were that you got out of bed that night. They asked me why I never told you about that night, and they wondered if it would be a burden or a blessing.

I’m hard on you because I’ve seen your greatness. You have such a kindness in you that is almost unheard of in our world. Not from New York and definitely not from someone who experienced what you and I have. You stick up for the underdog, even if it means you lose. You disarm people not with force, but with a quick wit. You love fully and unconditionally…even if it means you get your heartbroken by girls who don’t know what to do with a guy who actually cares. You are a rare kind of guy, and you don’t belong where you are now. I just wish you would fight for yourself the way you fight for others.

I’ll call you the next time I have a day off. I know I sometimes say that and don’t follow through, this week has been hell. But I promise to call. I love you. Miss you little bro.



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