Incognito with My Brother

Incognito with My Brother originally appeared in – BOMB 85/Fall 2003

I count the number of times he’s left me. I categorize them in a journal.

Accidental means couldn’t be helped. Voluntary means the ones I hold him responsible for. In that category, I stick forgotten meetings, blown-off movie dates, family gatherings he never showed up for. Parties with friends I was supposed to have been invited to. Lovers. Marriages. Weddings. Wives.

He’s nine years older. A half-brother. My father’s son from a first marriage. He never lived with us. Full-time he was with his mother, but some weekends and most summers he came to stay with our father and me. Our father traveled a lot. Then it was the two of us, and it was easier to pretend that my family was a different kind of family, and that I was a different kind of me.

My brother’s first wife left him when he was twenty-four. He’d been married for two years and a father for one. The rest of the family wanted to know what happened.

I wanted to know too; I just didn’t want to have to ask. I waited for him to volunteer, and when he didn’t, that was all right, too. I just made sure I was around for whatever happened next. Read More…