As far as I can recall, there’s only one thing my brother has unremittingly been passionate about: women. He’s had five children – from four different mothers; not to mention the string of ladies he’d had relationships with. I was an unfortunate witness to the several occasions he discarded the pitiful women as soon as he got tired of them and somebody new came along. Not classically handsome — his smooth-talking style hardly ever missed. I believe my mother spoiled her son to a point, I can no longer count the number of times I had to shake my head at the unwise decisions he had made in his life.
He’s still in his forties. – a couple of years younger than me. A good person, on the whole (though massively flawed in certain ways). Talkative, outgoing, forever bursting with humor; one of the very rare people who could make me laugh and giggle for two hours straight. More than half of the conversational fun I’ve had in my entire existence I owe to him.
There was this problem: He’s been a heavy smoker since he was in his teens. No intervention could halt his cigarette habit; a dependency he kept on denying throughout the years.
At present, it’s our mother who is in denial. Even though my brother has lost more than 30 pounds in a matter of six months; even though he’s lost his appetite for food and feels nauseous every time he attempts to ingest substantial solids in his stomach. It’s as if she’s thinking, “No, it’s not happening to my favorite child.” Nothing, however, has been definite as his medical lab tests still have to reveal what’s really causing his health troubles.
He’s raising a daughter who’s barely two years old right now – from his current partner. A woman who’s twenty four years his junior. I remember expressing my disapproval upon learning he was trying to have a baby with her (his new lover at the time) scarcely three years ago. I knew a possibility like this wasn’t remote. In addition to his addiction to nicotine, my brother wasn’t the type who’d be into wholesome eating and sensible exercise.
I feel somber these days whenever he enters my mind.
In spite of the conflict we’ve had and his ongoing resentment toward me due to my lack of devotion to our mother, I’m worried about him. He’s my brother after all. I really don’t want to think about what might happen. I wouldn’t want to lose him.
Yet I’m beginning to get scared.