Pressure Point

The atmosphere is particularly tense in this house at the moment. 

The reason is simple. Last night I told my brother just how disappointed I was in him, the same one I’ve been having a rather complicated time of things over lately. The flash point has been a couple of rather damning revelations involving the police, chases and my brother’s descent into the realms of worrying which people are going to snitch each other to the police.

It’s all very depressing. I thought he was smarter than that. Mistakenly, I thought he was cut from similar cloth to me. I wasn’t bothered with all that shit in school. I shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t care”. Maybe times have changed and it’s harder to steer clear of trying to look tough now. I carved my own niche out, I was smart but reserved, didn’t draw attention to myself, but somehow I struck a happy balance of not making any enemies by being generous and helpful. The odd bit of homework help here and there (and no more than that, I wasn’t that generous!) does wonders for one’s popularity. It was no skin off my nose, and it kept everyone friendly.

I don’t think my brother has that luxury. Sadly, he’s not as academic as I was. So I think he feels he has to carve his own identity out, which is the usual young male bravado thing. The language is foul, the subtle racism is there, the endless sexual references disgraceful, betraying a very disappointing view of women, and his attitude towards the people who put themselves out for him on a daily basis – us, his family – is shameful. 

So I flipped. Very quietly, very politely. But leaving him in no doubt that I’m simply surprised and disappointed as to the direction he’s heading in. 

No more words have been exchanged since then. In truth, they’re not likely to. In this family, we can’t talk to each other. We can’t even look at each other half the time without it either turning nasty or being turned into a joke to try to deflect from the very real danger that we might just possibly talk about our feelings about something.

The thing is, I know so much more. I have lots of stuff stored in reserve now. I don’t particularly feel bad about how I’ve obtained this information, but it all is slowly leaking out as it becomes possible to do so in public, either through a lapse or a very tactful leading discussion. I won’t go fully public with all of this unless or until I’m pushed into it. And right now, we’re pretty close to that line. 

I just worry where we’re headed. There is a great risk that if we push too hard he’s going to go into serious rebellion. No one wants that. But we can’t just stand by and hope for the best, thinking that he deserves the independence and freedom that he has been given for the past few years. In truth, he doesn’t.

But I do know this. I’m glad I’m not growing up in today’s generation.