How does getting disowned for the third time (by extension and association) feel? Pretty drunk and very high.
My little brother got kicked out tonight for denouncing the Iglesia ni Cristo cult faith we both grew up with. He texted me; my phone was on vibrate but luckily I got to my phone in time and called him to make sure he was okay. He was in tears. My brother does not cry, ever, not now in his adulthood – when we were children, yes, and the tears were plenty, but not now that we are both considered adults. I threw on my coat and reached for the keys. Eric got up from the couch, offering to go with, but I shooed him away. No, not this time. This is family business, and it could get ugly. No, I know for a fact it’s going to get ugly; I won’t let you get involved in this.
I drive to my parents’ house, fighting back the angry tears that threaten to fall. I notice that the radio is muted; I push the knob in and crank up the volume. Anything for a distraction. I am reminded of another night just like this six years ago, another stark rain-filled night, and not for the first time, I feel as if history repeats itself.
I pull into their driveway and kill the engine. The front door swings open. I see my brother’s tear-streaked face, so fucking young but at the same time so fucking old with the weight of all this shoved on his scrawny shoulders and bound up the three steps leading to the porch, swooping in for a hug.
He explains to me through the wracking sobs the terms, the scenes, the characters. I pat his back gently, rubbing circles, and nod stoically — it’s all so fucking familiar this was me six fucking years ago but in black and white and various shades of gray.
There is no parental showdown. There are no angry words. I do not get the chance to tell my old man to blow it out his ass, do not get to tell him where to shove it in the best terms possible with the choicest of words, do not get to throw it in his face that he and mother are making a horrible mistake and hey guess what hope you like how this fucking shoe fits, do not get to witness my mother’s bitch-fit segue into disappointed howling tears, do not feel like I properly earned my Olympic gold in parental disappointment like the best wayward devil child who grew the bitchingest pair of devil horns possible — true fucking story — with blood and sweat and pure sass and whiskey and piss and vinegar.
I sit in the cold on my parents’ front porch. I dawdled too long and the front door’s automatic lock clicked. I was afraid to knock, afraid to ruin the frail calm for my brother’s sake, though I was itching for a fight. So I sat, and I stared at the patches of sky where the stars peeked through. My joints ached. The damp and the rain here do nothing for the parts of my body that have started an early mutiny. I stared at the driveway where years before, I was disowned for the second time in my life, engaged in a shouting match with my father. I waited for my brother to finish his hurried packing. I felt as if history was repeating itself all around me.
I made an offering to my ancestors this morning: a bowl of plain steamed rice with some cabbage-potato soup ladled over it, and some incense. I didn’t realize until afterwards but without meaning to, it was like I was unconsciously making a gesture to unify both my ancestral sides… you know, honor-wise. The Filipino side, the Scandinavian side.
I knew I was in a calm before the storm. It seems I’ve found the storm. I’m used to storms.