I have a crush on my brother! I know that’s not right, but he is so gorgeous! Long golden hair, blue, blue eyes, and a smile that makes me melt. I can’t look at him without feeling all funny inside, and I’m sure he can tell.

He doesn’t talk much, but once he picks up his guitar, I feel as if he is playing just for me.

My mother and sisters are shamelessly gushing over the boys, and to be honest, I’m not sure where I fit in. I know we all share the same Mom, but we don’t share the same history.

I do know that the boys have been living on the East coast with their father, a step-mom and four step-siblings. Reggie says I’d like them, that I should come visit. Both brothers are musicians and they have a music store.

The day is full of music and laughter, and at the end of it all, many tears and promises to get together again.

When all is settled and I have a moment alone with Mom, I ask her the question that has been burning all day?

“Why didn’t Dad adopt the boys, too?”

“He tried to,” Mom says solemnly. “We won custody of all four kids in court, and your Dad had filed the papers for adoption, but their father intervened. He showed up after court and took the boys away. Pulled Reggie right out of my arms. He was just a baby! I tried to hold on, but I knew Reg would hurt him, so I had to let go. We didn’t know where Reg took them, and with your sister’s medical expenses…well, we just couldn’t afford a private detective. I guess we should have done more.”

She looks so deflated that I don’t press the issue any further.

Laurie will continue his yearly visits, but Reggie stays away. I won’t see him again until the winter I run away from home.

(I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my childhood life. I’ve been working on a memoir for some time, and to tell the truth, the story of my brothers plays a minimal role in the greater story.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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