I’m glad that my brother’s dead.
There, I said it and I’ll say it again. I’m glad that my brother’s dead. There were no tears of sorrow shed when I heard the news of his passing, only tears of joy followed by one of the most honest statements I had ever made up until now. “It’s over. It’s finally over. Now maybe we can all get on with our lives,” I said to my wife that day.
Daniel controlled us all from day one. We never ate out, never went to the movies, to fairs, or anywhere else because he always acted like a terror. Our mom didn’t have the energy to deal with the disapproving looks or the nasty comments we got from others so we just stayed home. Growing up, it was dumped on me to make sure he didn’t get in to any fights on our way to and from school. Because he was such a hellion in the classroom, teachers automatically assumed that I would be as well. I spent just as much time proving I wasn’t as I did on my studies.
The worst thing I ever did as a teenager was miss my curfew one time. My parents grounded me for a week, and I dutifully stayed home until the seven days were up. Meanwhile Daniel was caught shoplifting, skipping class, smoking pot and more on numerous occasions. For some reason, our parents thought those crimes only warranted being grounded as well but, Daniel being Daniel, he ignored them.
So much money was spent on tutors, therapists and outreach programs for him, leaving no funds for me when it was time for me to go to university. “You’re strong and smart,” my folks said to me. “You’ll make it.”
After I graduated, there were late night phone calls from my parents asking me to pick my brother up from jail after his every arrest. “What will become of Daniel once you’re father and I are gone?” my mother would cry. I wasn’t about to take care of him, that’s for sure. I put up with him only for the sake of my parents, but I had no intention of carrying him once they were dead.
Only Daniel beat them to the punch. He drove his car into a tree after another night of drinking. Fortunately, no one else was hurt, unless you count my parents.
“He just couldn’t catch a break,” Mom said at his funeral.
Unbelievable, right? The guy caused his own death and she was still defending him. There’s now a shrine to him in practically every room of their home. Picture after picture adorn their walls. There’s only one eight-by-ten photo of me with my family, though.
They can continue to worship him if they want, but I’m relieved to be rid of him. If that makes me a bad person, then so be it. Who knows, maybe being bad is what it will take for Mom and Dad to finally love me as much as they loved him.