• I tend not to think of myself as "Normal."
    I tend not to think of myself as "Special."
    I tend to think of myself as someone who just tries to make things bearable for those who dwell around him.
    Day in and day out, I solve problems that have nothing to do with me, for people that couldn't give a s**t about me if they tried, yet I help them.
    I help them because it's what I do.
    I don't easily turn to physical violence, though I'm trained to should it be necessary.
    I watch them on a nearly daily basis, as they continue to screw things up again and again.
    Yet as I observe, I am standing by that I may put the pieces back together again when they decide to rip everything apart.

    I am a sponsor, in the Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Now, without getting into all the religious crap, (Because I honestly don't believe it necessary.) I'll give you the short version of what that means.

    In short, I am assigned the task of looking out for someone's physical, emotional, and the like, well-being. The one who sits silently and steps in when the children squabble beyond things that they couldn't possibly hope to fix for themselves. I am a sponsor for my niece, a sweet, tiny, little girl named Lacey. (I call her lacey-bug all the time, because she always has loved lady bugs, even as a baby.) I watch her grow and blossom with every step she takes. I perceive her to grow an inch every day, yet I still regard her as a baby.

    Her Father, My older brother, is a man that I once held great respect for. I remember how we would wrestle, and it was my aspiration to one day surpass him in displays of fighting prowess on the Arena that was our back yard trampoline. I remember the days of when we would go to the store and buy large lego models on the 3rd of july, then take them home and build them, only to blow them up the next day. I remember the times we would go to the movies and eat hot dogs out in the parking lot, watching the people that worked in the nearby Barnes and Noble go about their repetitive tasks inside. I also remember how he left for the marines, and I cried for him, fearing that I would never see my brother again. I was a Six Year old boy, crying in his older brother's arms, begging him not to go, not to leave him alone.
    From there, I remember visits on occasion, sometimes in August, sometimes near Christmas, however he would never stay long, and the goodbyes would be the same every time. A little boy, hoping that he'll see his brother again, and that next time, he wouldn't have to leave again.

    Then he got married to a woman I was unfamiliar with, but accepted all the same. I attended the wedding, conflicts never really arose between she and I, it's not like we saw each other all that much.

    My brother was then released from the armed forces on the end of his contractual obligation. He came home with his wife in tow, now that they had settled down in his hometown, I greatly embraced the idea that one day, my brother and I could return to the relationship we used to have. The one where I watched his every move and tried to imitate it, in hopes of achieving the same greatness that I saw in him.
    That never happened.

    But one thing did happen, After they found a house, and lived there for a few years, I discovered that I would soon be an uncle. I was so delighted at the thought that I would have a chance to prove myself as an adult, though only about fourteen or thirteen at the time.

    And Lacey was born, and baptized into the Lutheran faith. From there, I was chosen to be her sponsor, a watchful guardian for her. I gladly received the responsibilities that this undertaking meant.

    But now, my brother's wife, thinks that they would do better in the city. She could be closer to her job, and perhaps Lacey would be better suited to a larger school. So my brother quits his local job and moves to the city.
    She's still unsatisfied.
    My brother fears loneliness, and therefore continues to pursue the preservation of his marriage by any means necessary.
    She decides they should move again.
    He quits his job and finds another one in the apartment that she wishes to rent.
    She's still unsatisfied.
    She decides they should have a home of their own, so they move to a house in a crime ridden part of the city.
    No surprise, she's still unsatisfied.
    So she makes one final decision, that things should be better in Texas.
    My brother, wanting to do anything he can to keep his marriage afloat, gives in again. So she takes my niece down to Texas while he stays up here and finishes things up in this area.
    It's at this time that I realize that My niece will soon be living two states away, and I will not be able to keep watch over her easily.
    This thought is terrifying to me.
    I could see it in Lacey's eyes, that she feared losing what had become familiar to her in her first years of life, and I could see that it was traumatizing her.
    I also saw my brother, a man that I had once held in the highest regard, frantic, to keep a psychopathic woman happy. He wanted to save a marriage that was no good for anyone involved, he wanted to do all he could to save everything.

    A few weeks pass and we say our goodbyes again, he moves to Texas.
    Only to be sat down by his wife, and her family, to be told that she was divorcing him.
    After he had moved all their worldly possessions hundreds of miles...
    She was calling it quits. She spoke of how SHE couldn't take it anymore. That SHE had done all that SHE could to keep things right. And that SHE couldn't make it work with HIM, someone who "All he does is work."

    I can remember thinking: "Yes, You Stupid B****, he is working himself into an early grave because You want the world on a silver platter and won't do anything to help him carry the load."

    I keep my silence and try to keep everyone calm about the situation, but then I discover that the entire past six months of their marriage, She and her Family had been planning this entire thing...
    She WANTED him to move their things down there, She WANTED Lacey to live down there for a while, so that Texas courts would try and keep her in state. And her Father, had even made plans, for him to be arrested for trespassing when he wanted to see his daughter.

    I bit my tongue again. I kept my silence. I didn't act out, or rage against anything. I merely kept my thoughts to myself, and despised her in secret.

    In my mind, she was the human representation of the devil. With what she had done to my brother aside, she was using a little girl, a defenseless preschooler, as a tool against a man who had just tried to give her everything she wanted.

    I bit my tongue a bit harder.

    He returned frantically to his family, out of Texas and away from the back alley deals that would've had him locked up. And he files the necessary paperwork for various custody hearings, and divorce proceedings. He notes that his soon to be Ex wife has acquired a "boyfriend" for the time being. And he begins looking for solace in the arms of someone local, someone that perhaps would understand him better than his soon to be ex wife did.

    He found someone, then lost that someone because she never called him again. He was heartbroken for all of a week until he found someone new. This new girl seemed to understand him perfectly. So perfectly that now, about a month or two into their relationship, they're playing house. They've even set a wedding date.

    Here is where the balloon has begun to reach it's maximum level.

    Over the years, I have come to see that my brother is not Superman.
    He has flaws, and I have loved him all still, just not in the same way as I would've a superhero.

    While he and his new woman are off playing house, they're rocking the sense of stability that needs to be seen by the court. The big thing that has things swayed in favor of having Lacey in a place where she'll be loved and protected from that Psychopath of a woman that was her mother. My brother is messing with Lacey's future happiness, he is not stepping up to the plate in that respect.
    I find myself losing more and more respect for him. That he would actually let his need for affection get in the way of having his daughter in a good home. It infuriates me to no end.

    I bite my tongue for the last time. The Years of watching people screw up each other's lives, All this time, staying silently in the corner as people fight. All this time listening to every word that someone needed to vent out!
    I never said anything, I never had one harsh word!
    That isn't very good for the individual on the receiving end now is it?
    I find myself alone, everyone vents to me, and who do I vent to?
    No one!
    What I do for others, no one is willing to do for me!
    I have thousands of words that could spew from me, and that would just be scratching the surface! I could write an entire book of complete Vulgarity just on a single conversation I've had with any of these people at any given time!
    But then my logical side steps in.
    Getting mad doesn't solve anything. Just sit in the dark, just let your mind go blank for a moment, and you'll make yourself feel better like you always do. Just accept the fact, accept the responsibility, that you are the one people turn to.

    I find myself at an impasse. I can't keep pushing everything down, but I can't just do nothing. Meanwhile, Lacey doesn't know what the future holds for herself, nor do I. All I can do is worry for her, no action of mine will benefit her in any way.

    So I struggle, I've never vented to anyone directly. Essentially, I don't know what exactly this feeling is. Is it hate? Is it sadness? Is it fear? Anger? Helplessness? Loneliness? Or is this me coming to terms with the fact that my fear of myself has taken me over?
    Have I really locked myself out of a normal relationship with normal people?
    Am I not able to vent as they do? Do I have no one to turn to?

    I think that this is anger, but it's not a full Anger... It's.. like an empty version of Anger. Something that looms, non attacking. An Anger that distends from my inability to make things better for anyone. Today, I found myself making the statement: "If the fact that he's got his head up her (His new Woman's) a**, ends up costing Lacey the opportunities that a loving family can provide... Forget about me attending any wedding, any divorce hearing, any ceremony, devoted to a man who is no longer my brother."
    I said these words in front of my mother, father, and little sister.

    This empty aggression that I have. I don't know if I had been to harsh on my statement, or not harsh enough. A part of me that still exists from my childhood, feels the pain that my family felt from hearing such a statement. Like a little boy inside of me screaming at an older version of myself: "How could You say that?! How could You be so mean to Big Brother?! I hate You! I hate You (My name)!"
    All the while, I simply stand there and look with pity on the snot nosed child who clings to a simple man, as one would cling to a boat in shark infested waters. Seeing myself as a child, those tears that once fell for the man I've lost so much respect for. I can't see clearly if those tears were misplaced, or there for a reason. As though my childish self could see the pain in my brother's heart. How his greatest fear was being alone, and that I wished to aid him however necessary.
    But at the end of the day, what can I say about a man that I would remove from myself as a diseased limb, or continue my aid of him, despite my anger in his regard.

    Should I feel remorse for my statement? Or should I embrace it with the same passion with which it was made?

    "A man who is no longer my brother." Did I really mean it? Did I stop loving him because he is apparently an idiot?
    The Answer is no.
    And from that Answer I can draw the conclusion that perhaps I am more angry with myself, for not being able to fix this problem for him, as I have the other problems that he's crossed in years past.
    That emptyness lies in my heart for not being able to save them all.
    I know that I'm not superman, and I have always known that.
    But it doesn't stop me from trying. I always have wanted to save the day, to be the one that people pose themselves after in hopes of a better society. I've always helped... In hopes that others would follow my example.

    So what do I say do that Six year old boy in me that cries as his brother departs for what would seem an eternity?
    I say what my brother did all those years ago: "I've gotta go do some stuff. I've gotta be superman somewhere else for awhile."
    "But who will keep us all safe until you come back?" The boy would say.
    To which the reply would be: "You will, You're Batman remember? That's why I know home is safe, because even when Superman's out, They still got Batman to keep em' safe."
    "Batman doesn't have superpowers though, he doesn't fight the way superman does."
    "You're right, he doesn't.. But that's because he doesn't need powers. He kicks butt by listening and watching things around him. He watches until he needs to kick butt."
    "You'll still come back to check on us though, right?"
    "Yes, but you've gotta keep em' safe while I'm away."
    "So long as the bad guys don't have Kryptonite... I guess You can go..."

    No matter how many times I play through this conversation in my head, the thing I see most is the amount of water from the boy's eyes match my own. All those times I would go to the movies, the comic books, blowing things up, those experience prove to me that he is still my brother.
    but does that mean that he is to be granted amnesty for allowing the tyranical reign of his ex wife to go on for as long as it did? Or that I am to forget that he is risking the loss of his Daughter?

    I am lost amidst a storm of emotions, thoughts, and conflicts. Things that I've heard vented from others swirl in with my own thoughts. A virtual maelstrom of uncertainty spins in my head.

    In the end. The only word that comes to mind is empty. It's all I have. The storm that blows through my mind, doesn't have debris to pick up and throw. I'm just empty.