I buried the hatchet and no longer sought revenge on my brother Bill. I bit my lip for years and never mentioned the pain he caused. I attended all family weddings with the exception of Bill and Suzanne’s—they didn’t invite me. I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway.
There are few ways to get revenge without sinning, so, just as in childhood, I turned the other cheek and permitted my older brother to get away with his madness, never once trying to explain my side of the story to Mom, who always favored the boy with blue eyes. I did not wish to estrange myself from the entire clan—I wanted some semblance of family in my life. None of them would speak to me. Years passed. Bill went bald, got a great job with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and now works from a home office.
It was Suzanne who put Bill through college. Shortly after our big fight one New Years Eve, the two became engaged and Suzanne insisted that Bill leave that tiny little red-neck town he grew up in, but before doing so, obtain all that was necessary to ensure a stable future. Bill was always incredibly intelligent. Despite being a lover of fishing and hunting, he was a master at chess and checkers. He studied books on how to play chess. In college, he obtained a degree that would enable him to design machinery used in assembly line production—that was his initial aim—who ever knew the government had such great jobs?
I was home on leave from the Army with my lover, Anthony, and driving south from New York City to visit both my family and Anthony’s who lived in North Carolina when the big fight broke out.
I bleached my hair blonde in New York—what little hair I had at the time—and I had my left ear pierced. Walking into that party made me incredibly nervous—I didn’t know what everyone would think about my ear, my hair and more importantly, my black friend from the army. Perhaps, I thought, they will finally figure out that I’m gay.
My lover Anthony was feeling quite at ease on that trip home from Germany and at the party. We had so much sex in New York that my anus had swollen completely shut. Not even a fart could be squeezed out.
The family was quite surprised to see my new look, but rather than ask about my new hair, they simply didn’t talk to me, or Anthony. It seemed to me that the fact that Anthony was black had caused the stir in everyone’s emotions. It was Suzanne who went out of her way to make Anthony and me feel loved and at home that cold New Years Eve. She couldn’t make any sense out of the ordeal—why was Bill’s brother being treated with such contempt? She must have thought.
“I’m going to get cigarettes, Suzanne,” Bill announced.
“Go ahead. I’m staying here,” Suzanne responded, tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulders and smiling like a whore at Anthony and me. She had just devoured an entire bag of chips. She carefully tilted the bag in order to capture every last crumb before guzzling down what must have been her tenth beer of the night. “So tell me, what’s Germany like?” Suzanne asked as she licked salt from her lips.
“You are coming with me,” Bill demanded, reaching for Suzanne’s hand which now firmly held both a whoopee pie and a cold can of beer.
“No I’m not!” Suzanne struck back.
A few moments later, Bill appeared in the garage with my stepfather who was carrying a gun.
“So what’s going on here,” Bob, my stepfather asked.
“They are trying to get with Suzanne,” Bill shouted.
“I’m getting the fuck out of here,” was what Anthony said moments before we raced away in our white Subaru rental car. We parked in the woods that night down a dirt road near the town of Rockhill.
Years passed. I never brought up the fight until a few months ago when I mentioned to Bill, now that he knows that I’m gay—“You do realized we were not trying to fuck Suzanne that New Year’s Eve,” I casually remarked.
“Yes you were,” Bill said, “I saw it with my own two eyes. You were eyeing her up and down with your tongues hanging out, squirming around in your seat like you couldn’t sit still. Don’t tell me what I saw, damn it!”
“You must be joking,” I said, “Let me make this perfectly clear, I never once wanted to fuck your fat wife!”
He hung up on me.
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