We jumped in the truck and headed to the pawn shop. My older brother was driving.
Some months earlier I had pawned a stereo system and the term on the pawn was due. Rather than let the stereo go I approached my brother suggesting he pay the pawn and get a really nice stereo at a great price. He jumped on it. So off we went.
At this point in my life I was running on ego and the train wreck that was my life was still firmly ensconced in my denial. Denial is a beast that must be fed not on demand but as a matter of maintenance. As with any maintenance program, if allowed to lapse the systemic breakdowns can be devastating. By nature I am very controlling and sustaining this maintenance routine was second nature. I never allowed outside influences to distract my vigilance or allowed transparency into my soul.
So it is in this attitude that I rode with my brother, who I not only loved dearly but held up as a surrogate father figure. Having been best friends our entire lives we rode in secure comfort with each other and things were loose and easy between us.
My brother shoved a cassette in the stereo and excitedly told me about this mew music by Stevie Ray Vaughn. I listened to the music and found, while a perfect fit for my preferred genre, that is was unfamiliar. I believed … no felt … I should have already heard this artist and that the music should have been familiar to me. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I changed the subject. I was unable to appreciate the music and missed an opportunity to share that discovery with my brother. An opportunity to make a memory, however insignificant, was lost. I felt it to the root of my soul.
While I was not able to discern exactly what I was feeling at the time, instinctively I protected myself by plowing ahead, forcing a change of subjects and tamping down any emotive response to what I was actually feeling.
As the years went by and thoughts of my brother rose in my consciousness if this event was not fore it was so closely trailing as to impede any independent thoughts regarding my brother and me. The event has truly haunted me, and does still today.
When I consider this event today I struggle to understand why it has such power to move me to sadness. I know I am ashamed of my bullish behavior, of my incapacity to see myself clearly, of my prideful ego … oh the rabbit trail is long and deep. What shames me most though was knowingly cutting off my brother’s excitement to be with me and share something h me. I interrupted the spirit in which he was sharing something with his little brother. His demeanor had been engaged, carefree, excited and fun. From my perspective, I interrupted that and forced my own agenda. “Forget you, look at me.”
Today this saddens me still. When I asked my brother for his perspective on this event, he has none. It was not sufficiently significant for him to register as a memory.
Through the years this event manifested in many ways in my life but this is the first time I have written about it. I find it cathartic. Thanks for reading.
“The unexamined life is not worth living”. ~ Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC – 399 BC)
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