I hadn’t heard from my brother for a little while and I was concerned as to how he was doing. The friends had all taken sides now, some showing support for his wife and others for him. He hadn’t updated our parents and all of my information was third hand, skewed by whomever the person I was talking to in the moment was supporting. I gave him a call and made arrangements to meet with him after I closed the restaurant one evening. A few days later, around 10 pm he rolled into the parking lot in his 4*4 that he was slowly rebuilding. It had a lift kit on it, which required a mini stepladder to get into the cab.
I locked up the restaurant and went out to meet him. He wanted to go for a drive so I scrambled up into the cab and left my car behind. We drove around the city, heading up to the various look outs that surrounded the valley city, enjoying the stars in the sky, and the darkness of the night. Not much was said for most of the visit, shooting the breeze so to speak. He spoke about work in non-committal ways, making an effort to not touch on anything too real. I could appreciate that as our relationship was tentative at the best of times. Opening up to each other was just not something we had ever done.
However, I was feeling the seriousness of the situation. My brother was reminding me of myself when I had my relationship with that girl from the coastal city come to a crashing end. I was picking up on his body language, his withdrawing, even in some of what he was saying and I was growing concerned. But, this was my brother. He was always the popular one. He never had a problem getting a girlfriend. He went to all the parties. He was the life of the party, so I was unsure as to how to bridge my concerns, wondering if I was projecting my own fears on him.
Some more time went by and I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. I began to talk to him about suicide. I wanted to let him know about my own journey as I wasn’t even sure if he knew about what had happened to me – we were that far apart emotionally. I shared with him my story, and I emphasized that there was another way, that at the very least I would make myself available if he needed someone to talk to. I continued speaking to him about depression and suicide for the next several minutes, to which he was just very still and quiet. He became distracted with some jewellery he had found in his truck and began to show it to me. I didn’t know how to process what was going on and I felt discouraged. I desperately wanted to be a help but I was not sure how to do that. So much time had gone by since we had connected in any sort of way that it was as if we were two strangers brought together on this dark night.
I became aware of the time – it was 11:30 pm. I was concerned about my wife who was at home alone with our first born, her being pregnant with our second. I don’t even think I had told her that I was meeting with my brother on this night, which added to the urgency. My brother took me back to the parking lot, still talking about the ring and other jewellery left in his truck. When he dropped me off beside my car I extended an offer to talk again. He gave me a half shrug and I said goodbye, watching him as he drove away, lost into the shadows cast by the lights of the parking lot.