My brother and I love each other dearly but we are so different that we make each other crazy when we are together for any length of time. How we sprung from the same loins is a wonder to me. I think that we both picked up odd bits of our parents--different, but very odd bits.
What I gain in quantity, he makes up for in quality. My life is packed to the very edges and beyond, with all that I want to do and be and accomplish. He does few things and lives a quiet, unseen life, but everything he does he does in a very particular way, and very well. He makes an incredible difference in Mum's life and is a gift that I am grateful for personally and for her sake.
But a few hours into a stay in Robert's world, and I suddenly feel that I can't wash dishes or cook, or make tea, or heck, even feed the cat with competence. He misses no detail--I have no time for all the details; the outdoors, nature, and books and writing are waiting.
So we had a few "moments" over our three weeks together. I didn't make spaghetti sauce quite right--I mean, I put onions in it. They make your clothes smell for days he said. Have I been going around smelling of onions for years and everyone was just too polite to tell me, I wondered?
The following week, he made the spaghetti for supper. It just needed a tiny tad of salt for my taste, so I tried to sprinkle some on unobtrusively. But when I thanked him afterwards for the lovely meal, he said, "It wasn't salty enough for you though, Belinda, was it? I saw you putting more on." I knew that even though he didn't look like he was looking; he was!
But then suddenly the weeks were gone and we were at the airport with, Brenda, Tim my nephew, and our friends Chris, Eileen and Nel.
Surrounded by noise and bustle and cases and people, in a moment to which everyone else was oblivious, suddenly my brother's big hand fell gently on my arm and it was as if we were alone amongst the crowd.The moment is freeze framed in my memory as a still photograph.
He said softly, "Thank you for coming, Belinda--I'm sorry for my outbursts." We both knew what he meant; it was a joking referral to our strange mostly unspoken relational dance.
" Well, I had one too," I said, thinking of the incident with the keys (see October 16th post, A Less Than Noble Moment).
"Just one?" he said.
And we laughed!