So I got email from The Ex last week. It was Facebook email, the account I never check. It was maybe a week old? A little less? The Ex, or Big D, as I feel more apt to call him, wrote me that his brother had died.
My mind instantly jumped to a weekend spent skiing with Big D and his younger brother, who was just a year older than I am. We went to Mammoth Mountain, California, and had a fantastic weekend of skiing all day and sitting in the hotel hot tub afterwards, just talking and drinking some and having a grand time. Little sleep was had because The Brother had horrid sleep apnea and I swear, it was just the most nerve wracking thing to hear ever.
Flash forward. Years after the first break up, then the second. A third? A fourth? I’d lost count, really. We never really broke up and got back together; it was more like we’d drift apart, not speaking and then drift together again when we’d had enough of missing each other.
Our fights didn’t include yelling or harsh words. They were the silent kind. Much deadlier than the loud ones. Yes, just like farts. We knew that our fights weren’t about his meddlesome sister, or his poor communication skills. We knew that it wasn’t the differences in religion, or my inability to separate him from his family’s money. Big D was The One Who Wasn't The One. Nor was I his One. You know what I’m talking about here. We all have one. We all have our version of Carrie’s Mr. Big. The one who seems right, but then is actually so very, very wrong.
When I finally broke with Big D I had to shove and run; cut him out. I had to shake off all remnants of what had been. We had The Conversation. It would be our last conversation for a long time. I had served up an ultimatum right before I’d fled. I needed him to do something. A gesture, more than anything else. I needed him to come to me, for once. And he couldn’t. And it broke our hearts. One of the reasons he gave me for not coming to me was The Brother. When he had talked to him about moving, The Brother begged Big D not to go. I felt it was incredibly selfish and made me upset with The Brother. He’d had Big D his whole life, why couldn’t he share?
I knew, deep down and was able to admit it later that it wasn’t The Brother who kept Big D from me. I did blame him just a little at the time though.
A year or two later, I got an email from The Brother. Big D was very sick and in the hospital. He’d contracted some infection in Chad, where he was on a mission trip with his father helping build schools and hospitals and shit. He’d come home and immediately left again for Colorado to a camp for blind kids. He ended up in a Denver hospital, part of that time being VERY scary in regards to his health.
I don’t know if The Brother sent that email on his own accord, or if Big D had requested it. Either way, each brother meant well. That email helped mend an amazing friendship that has now lasted 16 years.
All of this back story is to address an “oh-my-god-all-is-karma” moment that makes me believe over and over again that things happen they way they should. For some reason or another Big D broke my heart when he chose his brother and family over me. But I know now it was supposed to be that way. And not just because of The Candyman and not just because Big D married a beautiful girl who I actually like, but because he stayed and was a part of his brother’s life. What was my temporary heartache was Big D’s time spent with his brother, time that was cut drastically short.
He’s an uncle to The Bother’s 7 and 4 year old sons and will most likely step in in a fatherly role in the future. Those boys will need a man to tell them about their amazing father.
I haven’t yet spoken to Big D about his brother. I texted him as well as left an extremely awkward voicemail (I think I actually used the word “condolences”). I told him to call when he was ready. It hurts my heart knowing how this death will affect an old friend.
I do know that the one peace I can find in this event is that Big D made the right choice. For all kinds of reasons.
Life is short. Make it count.
The Brother, Me, Big D at Mammoth Mountain, March 1998.
In Heartfelt Memory