Unsaid Words by Marisha

How many times can one swallow crap?

How many times can one fool oneself?

How many times until your self fights back?

He sighed and rested his head on cold window glass.

Endless –

until that one time too many.

He shook his head sadly, looking at the picture frame in his hand.

Oh Charlie - how did it come to this?

Don studied the smiling picture of his brother, then suddenly, in one swift, angry motion, he threw it on the couch.

If you want us to stay brothers. You better give me some space. Now!

Space to breathe, space to be me again, space to heal my mutilated soul, locked up for so long in your shadow.

Don pursed his lips and looked at his dark reflection in the window.

Until one time too many – well you crossed that line and honestly, I don't know if there is a turning back. Yes, I've always been afraid to hurt you, to burst your little bubble, but it's time for me to stand up for myself, consequences be damned.

Don sighed again and slumped his shoulders.

But I can't hurt you, so it means I have to leave. Be alone again.

Don laughed bitterly.

Well, to me that's nothing new. But YOU! You crossed that line and this time, there is no turning back! Even the distance between LA and Albuquerque doesn't seem far enough.

Once again you tried to put the blame on me, to make me feel bad – turn me into the guilty party.

Once again you succeeded!

But this time you crossed the line!

You said I can be brusque and hurtful – you say I lashed out at you. I don't deny it, I could feel it, but I was too blind to see. I didn't want it to be true, knowing what it means, knowing what consequences I have to take now.

I bet you never dreamt I would accept your offer. The comment you so carelessly made. That I would value our parents, LA, my life there too much. That once again I would just swallow it, for old times sake.

Don's fist connected with the hard window glass and the pain, radiating from his hand, suited him just fine, merging with the rage he felt inside.

Guess what: You crossed a line. My line! I have decided to accept your offer of space.

You know. Well, … actually you don't! Since there is no room in your oh-so-sensitive, self-centered soul of clear, clean math for something like this. You never even saw it coming. Even an insensitive, cold soul like mine gets hurt. You cornered me. Dangerous! I realize now there was a reason I was being so restless at times when I shouldn't have been. I just never wanted to address the problem, didn't want to accept it and move toward an emptiness I feared. But right now I'd rather face the emptiness than you and your self-centered bubble.

Don rested his head on the cold window again, trying to ignore the throbbing in his right hand.

You said I lashed out and I am hurtful. You are right! I do that when I'm cornered. It's instinct! My last resort. I don't want to do it and I hate myself for doing it. But what can I do when I feel helpless, because my words haven't been heard, my body signals have been ignored, and my gestures overlooked? It comes down to my last resort. You didn't see it coming – that's why you got hit. I will never forget that look of hurt in your eyes when I left. But I had to do it: unwanted as it might have been. But nevertheless I had to lash out and push you away, before I could say all those really hurtful things that I sometimes think about you. Payback – useless, but hurtfully effective - for all the years of endless talk about you, you and your math problems, you and your being so special.

I heard it all, over and over again – same old, broken record – and I tried, I swear to God I tried to be there as your brother – to protect you against all the evils of the world, to protect you against pity and being singled out from others – I stood my ground to make it work - for you. For you, I ignored all those hints I overheard about not being as smart as you. I listened to all your self –praise, as innocent as you may have meant it. Over and over again.

Don cradled his hurting hand close, sliding down the window to the ground. He pulled up his knees and lets his head fall to his chest.

For Christ's sake it was Christmas Eve, an evening to be spent happy and in harmony with your family, but YOU …COULD … NOT …. STOP! You went on and on about yourself and your math, about the awards you received - again. You went on until I couldn't swallow it anymore. I just couldn't digest it anymore – that night I had to puke. Not from the greasy food or too much alcohol, as I tried to convince Mom and Dad afterwards. No, I had to throw up all the bile and self-righteousness you had been spouting. To free my system from the poison your achievements were spreading. And you? You congratulated yourself for the great Christmas we had! You had no clue!

With his left hand Don rubbed his tired eyes. Squeezing them shut, pushing with his fingers against the eyeballs as if trying to push away the thoughts swirling in his head.

Did you even realize when I stopped talking to you? When the last time was that I told you anything about myself? Shared one of my dreams? Hell, even just shared with you what I had done last week? Charlie, I stopped talking a long time ago – Christmas was just the tip of the iceberg and I still kept defending you – until now.

You crossed the line, gently and innocently self-centered as always. I bet for you it wasn't any different than any of the other times you had done it before.

For me it was.

You crossed the line. I walked away and I can't promise that I will come back.

Time will tell.

The end