She's afraid her brother will treat her just as he does their mother. Ignoring her calls. Never reaching out. Perhaps, she predicts, at his most present when she's about to die or already dead.
She isn't quite sure what she's after. Whether it's for her brother to impossibly makeup for all the rejection and abandonment she's felt from family throughout her life. Whether it's the way loving siblings relate to each other like she's seen in movies, or in certain people's lives around her that remind her of those feel-good films. Whether she is looking for a friend. Someone her needs her too.
Their father died in November. The moment he died, the two of them were there. She, kneeled at her father's bedside, holding his hand before it went limp and cold and yellow. He, one arm around his sister and the other around his father's head, a little bit farther away.
When their father died, it was surreal. She wept and wailed as she saw the aliveness leave him, angry at the world and at every fucking thing, because, again, she had to say goodbye to him, but this time it was for forever. She was glad she didn't wear any mascara that day.
Her brother seemed stoic; unmoved in the last few moments of their father's life. She had seen that face before many times, when he seemed to be exploding with emotion but had sealed off all his cavities, letting nothing out and nothing in because if he did who could be sure that he'd be able to put him self together again.
She felt her brother squeeze her arm tight, in those last few moments, hugging her after their father died.
But before he did, their father said something to each of them. Her father told her that he had regrets, but no matter what happened, she would always be his daughter. His father told him to take care of her, his little sister, while her brother nodded grimly.
Maybe that's another reason why his silence now is so hard. Another promise, of sorts — this time from her brother to their father — and another opportunity to let down.
She imagines their friendship, if they were to have one in the future. They would send each other photos of their cats. Have inside jokes based on sounds they made up as a child or the sounds that her stomach makes when she's hungry or digesting food. Have the same mannerisms and mispronounce the same words. Remember each other as little kids, which no one else in their lives can do anymore but each other.
She wants to have patience for his waiting, for his incredible need for space. But what if it never ends? Why doesn't he realize that when she texted last week, asking if they could be in each other's lives again (since his silent treatment towards her began after their father's death), that she needed to hear “I love you too” from him?
It was only after trying to make sense of her brother through text with his fiancée, and eventually calling out his fiancée for enabling his accidentally gender-stereotypical behaviour of doing so little emotional labour, that she told him
“I just want to know if you love me and if I matter you”
and that he told her
“Yeah of course I do”
(he hasn't written anything since).
She knows. That what feels like rejection and imminent abandonment of her is only partially attributable to him. But who else will take responsibility? What has she done wrong?
She learned through her brother's fiancée that he is, indeed, upset with her (his sister), but she (his sister) has no idea why. She can't take responsibility when it's based on shots on the dark, when it's been bottled up on the other end.
So she'll learn. She'll learn that right now, her brother has taught her that he cannot be relied on for support. And that supporting him now seems to mean giving him his requested space. She has, at least, made her voice heard. And though it reminds her of the immense fear of rejection that she lives with everyday, she will decide to wait.