Two weeks ago I thought my brother, Jeremy, was dead.
A week ago, he reappeared in rather dramatic fashion after a five year disappearance.
Last night Elysha, Clara and I ate dinner with him and the woman responsible for our reunion (an amazing story that will hopefully end up in print soon) at Jeremy’s apartment. It was the first time that my brother and I sat down for dinner together since 1985, unless you count the post-funeral luncheon following our mother’s burial.
We had a great time. An actual, genuine, heartfelt good time. He met my daughter for the first time, and thanks in part to his two cats, she took to him right away.
The way to Clara’s heart has always been through a well-placed feline.
We ate dinner, shared a bunch of funny, tragic and surprising stories from our childhood and the years we spent apart, and filled in some of the massive gaps in our family’s less-than-illustrious history.
He gave me a birthday present, the first gift that he and I have ever exchanged in our entire lives.
He reminded me that as kids, we were total opposites and always fighting.
Jeremy loved the Red Sox. I loved the Yankees (just to spite him).
He was a Batman guy. I loved Superman.
He loved Darth Vader. I loved Luke Skywalker.
It turns out that like me, he is an obsessive Patriots fan. His home is a veritable shrine to the team.
He has also failed to take down his Christmas tree and accoutrement, which I find extremely disconcerting, and he hemmed and hawed about reading any of my books (he had no idea that I was an author until a week ago), but if he’s willing to remain in my life, I can learn to live with these things.
Near the end of our visit, Jeremy picked up Clara for photos, something she would never allow a stranger or even most friends to do. But she allowed Jeremy to lift her into his arms and even managed a few smiles in the process.
I couldn’t believe it.
We even planned another visit. Next month at our place. Clara will be upset when Jeremy arrives without the cats, but that’s a small price to pay for an uncle that she did not know existed until a couple of days ago.