30 January 2009
The Bond That Never Was (Part One)
As children, Matt and I rarely saw the world in a similar vein. We shared many things in life, our parents and younger brother, Tim, being primary, of course. We both attended grade school at Holy Trinity and high school at Aquinas. We hung out with many of the same neighborhood kids, although rarely together. We would spend hours and hours, creating our Lego masterpieces as well as collecting Match Box cars. As we got older, we developed a renewed interest in music, developing a passion for the post modern sounds of Morrissey and The Smiths, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division. Our worlds were in so many ways the same. Yet, fundamentally, our worlds could not have been more different.
I regret that Matt and I really never truly bonded with each other. As a child, this conclusion was not readily apparent to me. After all, siblings are presumed to love and adore each other. It is unrealistic to imagine siblings who always appreciate the quirks and idiosyncrasies of one another. Without question, there are times when brothers and sisters fight, be it over a toy or the TV watching schedule. And, there are those times of jealousy and resentment over the distribution of parental time and affection. Despite it all, siblings usually regroup and move on from these childhood transgressions. The bond between siblings is protective. We forgive and hopefully, forget. We move on because that is what siblings do. Or, so I thought. Or, so I hoped. Or, so I desperately wanted.
Very honestly, our relationship did not flourish for lack of trying. I remember lying on the brown carpeting of our dining room floor, my hands propping up my face, a sea of Matchbox cars in front of me. Matt, would lie in similar position, although I remember that it was very difficult for him to stay in one position for any length of time as he always appeared as if he had "ants in his pants." We would create an inventory of our respective car stock, sometimes trading a race car for an ambulance. We would line our cars in our "parking lot," manipulating them in the manner we wanted them displayed. We would "chase" each others' vehicle though imaginary terrain and unanticipated hazards. These brief moments of enjoyment were fleeting, as invariably, Matt wanted the cars to smash into one another. He would fling cars throughout the room. Wheels would fall off, windows would break, and a few cars invariably, destroyed. Matt reveled in these violent displays of car crashes, especially those in which the car occupants would suffer horrendous fates. I did not really understand this need for intensity and wanted less violence. I bristled at the thoughts that cars would smash and explode. In retrospective, without much surprise, very few of our infrequent play sessions ended well. The resulting frustration and anger lingered into the next foray until no more attempts were made to play with our cars together. It became that we no longer played together at all as we so seldom saw eye to eye.
Why were Tim and I able to bond when Matt I couldn't? I have always felt such an intense connection with Tim, yet only superficiality with Matt. Why were we unable to develop a minimal affinity with one another during our early childhood years? This realization is the mourning of an unfulfilled dream. Matt is my brother, yet I share no emotional connection with him. This is not how sibling relationships are *supposed* to be.
Amidst a bond that never solidified is a regret that only deepens.