My dearest brother, one of my favorite people in my life, Where would I be without him now? I miss him so much now when we're no longer close and things seem to be if not beyond repair then at least very very far from how they used to be. It is very hard to let go of people we love dearly but sometimes there is only as much fixing we can do. Especially while living in different countries.
My brother is 5 years older than me and we used to be very close. He taught me a lot. Since I can remember, we were inseparable. He used to teach me whatever he knew. I remember this little drawing of a flower he did to tell me all about plants. I always heard how happy he was to have a sister and how impatient to play with me. He didn't realize that it was few years before the new monster could be upgraded to "play" option. In the old flat, were my family stayed for couple of years after I was born, we shared a room. A room full of secrets and surprises. We had toys, games, everything. I would still have to draw on the wall. Crayons and paper were the next best thing. I know, I am repeating myself. Let me just sketch this image for you of two kids learning and discovering the world together. He would teach me the first prayers and explained how the world works. He would get upset but never for too long. I always looked up to him and saw him as someone wise and knowledgeable. I was the crazy troubled spark that asked too many questions. He would know so many things about the Universe and always found an answer for me. I was always in awe how he would organise all these information in his head. Me, on the other hand, I would always forget names, places, dates, mix things up. I operate more with what I call fields of understanding than rough data. I was always more perceptive to emotions, colors, visuals. I felt a bit stupid at times, to be honest. I was hoping one day I can become like my brother.
One of many upsides of having an older brother was the fact that I was always slightly ahead of my peer group. They usually seemed too immature for me and I was always seeking company of older kids. My brother was also mature for his age - to be honest I never remember him not being mature. Not that he was too serious, no, we were having lots of fun and doing all the kids stuff. It just never was a silly loud way that was so annoying me so much in other kids. I appreciated creativity and an interesting conversation from the early age. I don't know what it was, was it the way our parents brought us up or did they just make a pair of extremely cool kids with most of the work already done for them. Honestly, I can't tell, thinking of their behavior especially later on in our teens I am quite surprised we turned out so well. If not my big nose, so obviously inherited in genes, I would still entertain the possibility that we might have been adopted. For the better or worse I am undoubtedly my family's product.
I was trying to follow my brother in whatever he was doing, whatever his interests were. His mind is better structured I would say, he would collect information and retain them much better. And he would spend hours explaining me things that I could not comprehend. I was more of a dreamer, probably more artistic and chaotic. I wouldn't like to make a line between me being the creative and him purely an intellectual. He had a lot of creative drive and had much more patience for detailed projects. Amazing and talented person. I had a hunger for knowledge, I wanted to know everything so I tortured my brother about questions that used to spark day long discussions. Other times I would browse his books, fascinated by all the colorful albums full of mysteries of the universe. There was cosmos, the origins of our planet, plants, animals, human body. So many interesting subjects. I would want to borrow them all but my brother would only allow me to take one at the time. "Read it, give it back, then you can take another one." How very frustrating! I wanted to have them all! The need of being surrounded by more books than I can ever read remained with me to this day.
Going on holidays we would always share a room and walked ahead of our parents drifting into lengthy conversations. Our imagination was always at work. We would play board games - he would always win and upset me, although I think he was even more upset on the odd occasion when I happened to win. There was one in particular that could last for the entire day. Talisman, I think. It was a quest through fantasy land to find the crown and become the ruler of all kingdoms, as you do. Or something like that. So many games. Board games, computer games, later on card games and rpg. And if not, we would play with action figures or fight aliens. My brother loved comic books and had a big collection, organised by date and type. He was also into martial arts, history and weapons. Soon enough it was also psychology and philosophy. I was a guinea pig for a lot of his experiments, whenever he needed a stand in for a new martial art technique or hypnosis. Sometimes he would accidentally hurt me which was rather hilarious cause it was never his intention but somehow I managed to get hurt. Maybe it's just a very "little sister" thing to do.
As kids we used to spend a lot of time in tennis courts and surroundings. My parents were involved in that world but we never got taught properly how to play tennis. Dad said it's because he didn't want to put pressure on us like his father did on him. I call bullshit, I think he was just lazy. Sorry, dad, I just can't stop thinking about it. Anyway, we spent a lot of time there NOT playing tennis and looking for things to do. Exploring surroundings and trying not to get caught by creepy men in white vans. Not that I remember any in particular but it really seems astonishing to me that we were running free so much given that on other occasions my parents had to know our every move and were very strict regarding our whereabouts. I suppose they took for granted that my brother would just take care of me, even though he was still a kid himself. I remember very early days when we used to stay alone in the old flat and watch kids friendly movies, like Godzilla. I couldn't be more than six. I think, perhaps they were just very confused and the style of their parenting was highly influenced by their state of mind. Honestly, the more i think about it and try to make sense of the memories, the more I realize I grew up in quite schizophrenic atmosphere. There are days when all I want is to understand.
My brother influenced me much more than my parents ever did - they didn't really spark any passion in me, didn't have particular passions themselves, although you would see inclination. My mum has a great talent for manual things and sense of aesthetics. If only she wanted to pursue it she could be a professional creative of some kind, I am sure of it. My dad, well my dad was a mystery. Maybe he was a secret agent of some kind. He sure could get things done when he wanted. He suffered no fools and emanated authority until he lost it, having given up to his own demons. He was the reader though, unlike my mum who lacked a lot of cultural references. What an odd, dysfunctional yet powerful pair they made. How things could be different. However, this is not the time to talk about my parents in today's family album episode. Today belongs to my brother.
Along with natural inclination it was no one else but my brother who introduced me to a deep and mysterious world of the occult. Subtly in the beginning, with his forteana magazines lying around that I obviously picked up and read deck to deck. Mythology, religion and the origins of the universe where rather common subjects we liked to discussed, together with the nature of human mind. In later years we would spend whole afternoons trying to figure out what the hell goes through our parents' minds an why do they act so weird. We thought we could fix the things we couldn't escape. Isn't it fascinating how one thing leads to another. He, of course, has his own memories, stories, moments that were crucial for him that I can't possibly be aware of. I could never paint the full picture and do him justice that he deserves. Somehow the right books ended up in his hands and inevitably made their way to me. Learning about Jung and subconscious mind was just a step away from making acquaintance with the infamous A.Crowley, A.O.Spare and Peter Carroll. I remember my brother secretively making his magical weapons that I was strictly not allowed to touch. I don't know how far did he go with the practice. I was intrigued but my curiosity was directed more towards arts. The rough teenage time happened. I would not sleep at night, skip school and rebel against the surreal nonsense around me. I had good reasons to be angry. Dealing with the Armageddon in my family plus the usual trauma of adolescence. It was a very painful time. Finally I had enough, I packed my stuff and flew off to Llandudno. I came back just to finish high school and went away to Jersey. It was a strange place for me and I had to learn a lot of life lessons the hard way. I left home before my brother but when I briefly came back few years later, he was already gone and nothing was ever the same again.
It would be hard to expect it to be, however, As often in life, I wasn't quite ready for that. I think he got married shortly after. I thought too early but who was I to judge? I probably wanted him to remain my brother full time, none of this marriage and children nonsense. And yet the child followed a little later. There was my older brother, becoming a father. When did it all happen? At the beginning we kept in touch via emails and through skype. I went through prolonged periods of more or less severe depression and I didn't always do what was best for me. I was hanging out with the wrong people who often used and abused me. I was searching for understanding from my family that I never found. I understand it must have been hard for them to hear me in pain from a different county but no one ever suggested to visit me during these hard times. The fact I let was often used against me as a yet another reason how everything bad that happened was somehow my fault. I could perhaps understand that my parents were a bit weird about trips abroad, but my brother? I was very hurt by that. He was struggling in his own way but managed to finish studies and buy a house. He became a real adult. With the birth of my nephew he was understandably busy and we become talking less and less. I felt some kind of pressure, something he wasn't completely open about. I knew things weren't always easy for him but I grew tired of being the one who constantly reaches out. I knew that no matter what he would remain my brother I love and he could come see me anytime or call me at 3 am if he had to. I didn't get the impression that feeling was reciprocated. Once I asked when would be the right time to come to visit, he said that it's never quite the right time. It made me sad but he responded saying I know nothing about real life and commitment. It wasn't a pleasant exchange. When I briefly visited last time, there was no time or place for us to talk since everything was evolving around the nephew. To certain extent it is normal, of course. Bringing up new life requires a lot of energy and attention. On the other hand something was telling me it is possible to find time to talk to your best friend more than twice a year. With all the technology that surrounds us. What was that bitterness he was holding towards me in his heart? Sometimes he seemed sad, sometimes just ok. The other days I would think he is doing great but there were little words that were suggesting some inner battles. It is not my place here to write about little that I knew or suspected. Finally he seemed to find some balance and time for himself between the family duties and professional life. It always pleased me to hear that he haven't forgotten his passions - something a lot of people do once caught up in the family life.
I think that's what he wanted the most - to create a better family than ours. That was never my goal. I went off to be crazy and let the life led me to some extraordinary and often very dark places, for better or worse. Couple of years ago I became more serious about occultism and I was happy that finally I will be able to discuss things with my brother like in the good old days. I had a better understanding and more thoughts on it than ever, eager to hear his opinions and exchange ideas. To my disappointment, it seemed like he took a turn with his interest in the esoteric and dismissed it completely, leaving only some place for meditation as having scientific support. Regardless of whether his information was complete in this aspect, I continued to ask him for references, hoping to refresh the contact and keep the conversation going. Unfortunately the dismissive tone remained. I wasn't pleased with that and I shared my opinion, suggesting a discussion rather than writing things off. That followed with an explosion of unfair accusations and feelings I understood where bubbling up for a while now. It was painful to hear. I summoned my patience and kindness to hold my emotions back and allow a mature exchange but it was already decided. No conversation was to be had. My heart was broken.
I'm sure there is more aspects to this story. It's just my perspective, skewed by emotions and imperfect memory. Since that last argument I wrote a short email to which I got an equally short reply. My question whether he would like to meet up next time I'm in the country remained unanswered.