Words Unspoken.

“I HATE MY LIFE” the words farted across the screen of my brother’s snapchat story. It could just as easily have said “Oops” or “Brick Wall 1 – My Truck – 0”. But no. “I HATE MY LIFE”.

If it had been this one post, I could have internally justified it — thinking perhaps it was a comical exaggeration. Hell, I’d be annoyed with the backing my new truck into a wall scenario as well. But this felt different. It stung. If my wife had been with me she would whisper “Please don’t snap and drive”. I would have have rolled my eyes and slipped my phone into my pocket. She would have been right.

Pulling over onto the the side of the highway I took a pained, deep breath. Not so much like a fish out of water breath, but more like a fish who watched his brother bass be hooked and pulled from the depths by an unknown force kind of breath.

The blue iMessage I had received just a day earlier popped into my mind and I could almost hear the whistle text tone — haunting me. “I just don’t want him to turn into a depressed shit like me” it had said.

Why are you depressed? Are you really? I had wanted to reply. I didn’t.

The looks and accompanying crown of Prom King, gainfully employed, a new truck (with some new scrapes — but still good), all the freedom a man experiencing adulthood could ask for, the toughness and brains of a leader, but an eagerness and respectfulness to follow, even if it was a bad call. The whole package. My baby brother is my role model I thought. Stumped.

Softly shifting the car into reverse and swinging my 1993 camry into a U-ie, I took of towards mi hermanos. “You’re just like dad” I remember my sister saying to me during one of my finest lectures — That accusation is considered cheating in my family and it was the argumentiqutte equivalent of Porter shouting “You play ball like a girl!” in the Sandlot. With this comeback you held a 70/30 chance of either ending the argument, or adding heaps of coal to fire. Pretty good odds.

I do feel like Dad now, the unwelcome notion crept into my brain. I blinked hard. This isn’t how I should handle this I thought. We’re bro’s, while very close, my brother was not one to open up or discuss feelings. 100 times out of 100 he would rather help change my oil.

Internal struggle raging, the golden bullet hurtled at a risky 5mph below the speed limit towards my destination. What will I say, how will I even bring it up? We’ve never fought, will this be the first? It’s not even a big deal, people say FML left and right.

This felt different. I don’t panic much. Am I panicking now? I pressed on, feeling drawn towards finding some sort of solution like a big magnet on a table of rusty nails and pocket lint.

Pulling into the gravel driveway with purpose. I hopped out of my chariot before the engine had fully gone quiet. I walked up to my brother and embraced him. Taken aback, an awkward moment passed before he lowered his arms from the crucifix position he had frozen in and into the bear hug that had grabbed at him.

“I love you” I mumbled. Have I ever even said this?

“I love you too” he chuckled in a way that said “This could have gone without saying — but I mean it.

I wanted to say:
“You know, it’s okay to be sad”.
“You’re still a man if you say everything you feel”.
“I’m here for you”.

I didn’t. But maybe he knew that too.

Samuel O'Connell

Samuel was raised one of eight children. The son of a cartoonist and art teacher, he grew up in his father's classroom. With an education in Filmmaking and an extensive background in graphic design and web design, he now spends his time shared between his Coal Creative family and at his home in Noxen, PA.

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