I’m not sure why, but while I was thinking about Mariah Carey and how listening to her music reminds me of my brother, I remembered an old friend of mine who had followed this blog I wrote quite intently in the aftermath of Ed’s death. He was long-winded, surly, oftentimes depressed, and extremely cynical. We knew each other from high school, and though we were close then and remained in touch afterwards, I realized around the time of Ed’s passing that he really was the kind of person I should no longer be in touch with. He added no value to my life, I never felt better or happier after seeing him or having contact with him, and he had absolutely nothing to offer me. Instead, he only sucked me dry of energy and any potential optimism that I had. When he moved to New York to start his lucrative career as a lawyer, he even claimed to be so debt that he couldn’t afford to buy bedding. So I actually loaned him MY OWN bedding, down to my comforter and my comforter cover, so that he could have something comfortable to sleep in.
After reading months and months of my reflections of Ed, he randomly messaged me and said, “Don’t you think you are being a little obsessive about your brother?”
I stopped dead in my tracks. This man is truly the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever called a friend, I thought. My brother jumped off the fucking Golden Gate Bridge after decades of suffering from depression and borderline schizophrenia that he had no control over, and this loser who can’t even afford his own bedsheets has the nerve to tell me that I am “obsessive”?
In that moment, I actually felt sorry for him, even though he was completely undeserving of any energy of mine at all. In that moment, I felt pity for him, knowing that he’d never be able to experience the level of pain I felt losing Ed because he’d never love another person the way that I loved my brother. He would never know the depth of feeling, the amount of empathy that was required to understand how I felt for even a split second.
Years later, he reached out on Facebook Messenger, of all places, to ask me how I handled my brother’s “affairs” after he passed. He said he was sorry to ask (he wasn’t; he was just being selfish and only reaching out when he needed something), but his father had died suddenly, and he needed advice. I had none to offer. I wished him well and expressed my condolences. That was the last I heard from him.
Some people find value at keeping friendships for life. I find value at keeping friendships that actually fuel me and contribute something to my inner happiness and peace, people who actually want to give to me and don’t just expect me to constantly give to them. He did none of those things. Thank god we are no longer connected.