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Unknown Pain: A Brother's Love

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Why am I crying? This doesn’t make sense! I never do this. Why am I sobbing? People who sob for no reason should have their crying privileges revoked, including me. Especially me. This doesn’t make ANY sense. It probably didn’t help being cacooned in my blanket, in my room, in the dark. But where else am I supposed to go? What better place to hide from the world than in your own broken home? So I call the only person who can make sense of it, because naturally it’s the sensible thing to do.
You answer the phone. “Hello.” I repeat your word, but in a much more bitter voice like a river straining to free itself from the dam that contains it. I was suffocating on the knot in my throat. Did you know you could really drown in your tears? Isn’t that like drowning in your pain? How depressing. You hear the desperate sound locked in me and say, “What’s wrong?”
It’s both liberation and entrapment, because I don’t know what’s wrong, but all I want is for someone to listen to the words I don’t know how to say. You’re so good at reading my cryptic personality so I say, “I don’t know….I’m just so sad and I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I can’t smile. Please, help me smile again.” And for you, that’s enough. You ramble on about friends who have gotten lost on their way home one too many times, and how your dog stepped on you once again, and other funny stories you know will have me rolling in comical hysteria. Because I’ve always been easily amused. Because it tortures you to hear me in such pain. Because you know I called you because you know that you and God are the only ones who can fix me when I’m this broken. So you talk until I laugh.
“Are you smiling yet?” you ask, since you can’t see my puffy eyes and mounds of Kleenex from the other side of the phone.
“Yeah. I’m smiling. I don’t know how long it’ll last though.” You’re quiet for a minute, a sure sign that you are in deep thought. And I let you think, because when given the proper space, you come up with the most helpful solutions.
“Drink water. You’ve been crying for an hour, I don’t want you to get dehydrated.” But I don’t want to move. I don’t want to come out from beneath the covers. I don’t want to open myself up to the misery I know awaits me, but I get up to get a cup, because I know you have my best interest and you won’t let me go until I’m ready.
“Now call Mom.” I don’t dread these words, but I don’t relish them either. And I tell him, “I don’t want to stop smiling.” So you keep talking to me, to calm my spirit, and ease my soul. Something that sometimes, only a big brother can do. I don’t know what I would do without you. I couldn’t imagine having another. Before I hang up, you tell me the rest of what I’ll need to survive today, tomorrow, and forever...
“I’m always here for you. Call me if you need to smile again, okay? I love you.”




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