Two Brothers

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

wouldn't it be cool to have an extra brother, even if he shared the same body as the one you already have?
Split personalities, acceptance, love, and betrayal.
(sorry, bad summary)

I knew as soon as I walked in and started telling the psychiatrist my story that he would want to sign me up.

I've been avoiding this as long as possible, but I know that I won't be able to stay sane if I keep everything bottled up any longer. I close my eyes and heave a sigh, then open them and look nervously at the man sitting across from me. Dr. Albertous looks over his glasses at me with his piercing blue eyes and smiles reassuringly. This is my first official therapy session, not counting the time where I outlined my life and the reason I was even here in the first place.

“Begin whenever you feel comfortable Ms. Jetlo. I can wait as long as you need me too. Don't try to say too much too fast if it makes you feel to uncomfortable, but also try to push yourself just past your comfort zone.” He even puts down his pen and leans back to show me that he isn't just going to jump up and proclaim my insanity the instant I open my mouth.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes again. In my heart I know I'm doing the right thing. But I couldn't quite shake the feeling of unease and the feeling that I was about to betray the person I love the most. I mean loved.

“My family had never really gotten along. My parents were the kind of people who were impossible to please. Always saying that we, their children, could do better. Never congratulating us, just telling us that we were better and could do better. I don't really think that that has affected me that much. I mean, everyone has problems with their parents. It was my brother they affected and hurt the most.” I open my eyes as I feel the story of my life unfold and flow out of me like a river breaking through a dam.

“I was the only one who really understood him. He only trusted me with his secret. My parents pretended that they couldn't tell or see it. And whenever some person asked them if they had any children, they would say yes, they had a daughter and a son. Whenever someone asked me if I had any siblings I would say yes, I have two brothers. They just both shared one body.” I glared at the doctor, waiting for him to interrupt, but he merely scribbled something in his note book and motioned for me to continue. “Some would call him mentally ill, others would say he was just plain crazy. But I knew him, I knew them both.”

“I first noticed that Keith was acting strangely when I was ten and he was thirteen. He was usually clam and laid back. Keith was popular at school, had loads of friends, girls were always flirting with him. He was athletic, smart, pretty good looking (I guess, he was my brother so I couldn't really say). He also had a great personality, he was witty, which made him hilariously funny, and he was a great listener. Also, unlike many siblings, we got along great. He never pushed me around or left me out of any games with him and his friends.” I smile at the memories. A deep and familiar pain swelled inside me as I thought of the brothers I had lost. “Anyway, it started a couple of weeks before his fourteenth birthday. He grew quieter and seemed as though he was meeting all his friends for the first time again. Even with me and my parents. Of course he didn't outright say he didn't know anyone that he did, but he did seem to re-meet everyone as a different person.”

“It was an entire year before he actually came to tell me about my other brother. But by then I'd become accustom to his personality shifts. I could tell when he was the brother I knew, and when he turned into the other personality. I knew that when he was in the other form, I could speak with him just like I did with Keith, joking and laughing, but I couldn't call him Keith. He would get really upset whenever I'd call him Keith. At first I would laugh and ask him jokingly what else would I call him but his name. But after a while, I began to realize that he was truly upset and I started to just call him my brother.”

“One night, after mom and dad had given him a really hard time about his soccer game the day before, Keith came to my room and sat on the floor. It was part of our ritual, whenever they gave either of us a hard time, one or the other of us would go to the others' room. But somehow I knew that today was the day he would either tell me what was going on or I was going to confront him about it.”

“'I need to tell you something Shel.'” He said to me that night. He didn't look at me as he spoke and I knew that I was speaking to the other one, not Keith. But before I could say anything, I actually saw the transition from one brother to the other. 'Actually, both of us needs to tell you something.' He looked up with fear in his eyes as he waited for the impact of his words to hit me. But I knew as soon as he said it. As everything from the past year finally clicked into place I looked down into my brothers eyes and saw them both looking out at me from his deep blue eyes.” I took a deep breath and rolled my neck to loosen the muscles. I looked at the doctor to see his reaction to what I was telling him. He simply looked down to his notepad and motioned with his hand for me to continue. After taking a drink of water and looking quickly at the clock, I'd been here talking for two hours, I began again.

“I also suddenly knew the perfect way to tell him I understood and accepted them with out actually saying the words. 'What should we call him? Our other brother?' I still remember the look of surprise and then joy on his face as he digested what I'd said. 'I call myself River.' My other brother answered. From that moment on, I helped them keep the secret from mom and dad and the rest of the world.” I looked over at the doctor and saw that he had stopped writing and was simply looking at me.

“This is all the background information?” He asked me, and I knew that he thought he might have made a mistake of signing me up.

“Yes, something bad did happen. I suppose I'm just procrastinating.” I smile as a tear escapes my eye. “River always said that was my only fault.” I looked at the doctor. I could see that he was trying to decide whether or not to keep me for more or sign me up for another appointment. “If I don't get it all out now I don't know if I'll be able to get it out the next time. Come on doc, I'm on a roll here.” I smiled bravely and continued again when he nodded his head.

“Obviously there are many families that have mentally disabled children, and maybe River was just some part of Keith's brain that was all screwy. But River was really enough to all of us, and he wasn't really hurting anyone anyways. But my parents couldn't let go. Mom over heard River one day, he was talking to one of his friends who had come over to our house. By then all of our friends knew about River, and most had accepted him as well. In his own ways, River was also a really cool guy, and he could be really fun if you got to know him. But of course we hadn't told any adults, especially not our parents. Anyway, Robert had been having trouble shielding the information from the adults. We'd been able to cover for his slip-ups by joking that he gave Keith the nick name River. But he had been talking about how Keith had done something funny in Biology with the teacher and he wondered how River would have handled the situation.” I could feel the tears falling down my cheeks but I couldn't stop the words as they came faster and faster.

“I think that mom and dad had known for a long time, but they had been denying, pretending that their son was as normal as everyone else. She finally snapped and practically threw Rob out the door as she screamed at River. Dad entered and started to yell as well. Both of them cornered him in the living room as they told him, ordered him, that he must stop this nonsense. River then knew that if he didn't convince them then, they would never understand. I came in at that time, and I remember seeing my brothers crying, both of them tried everything to make our parents see. But they wouldn't!” I was screaming at the doctor now. I couldn't contain my frustration any longer. I couldn't keep my anger and hatred from bellowing out in my desperation to have the story out in the open.

“They disowned him, told him that if he didn't stop 'this game' he would have to leave the house. I begged them to reconsider. But nothing I did or said mattered to them. They just wanted their perfect son and daughter to be as normal as can be.” Bitterness crept into my voice. “Keith was in my room when I went upstairs. His eyes and nose were red, but he had stopped crying. 'I'm leaving Shel. River and I can't be who they want us to be.' He just stood up and hugged me goodbye. At the time I couldn't move, or speak. I was frozen in place.” I felt the air in my lungs slowly leave in a long sigh as I neared the end of my story.

“They lived in the street for a while. I would see River sitting on a curb, or Keith holding out a homeless sign. But they wouldn't come back to the house until mom and dad apologized and welcomed they both back. I pleaded with my parents, but their stubbornness grew worse as my pleading became more consistent. I couldn't focus on my school work, I dropped out of my clubs and sports. Every day I would go see Keith and River, and every day they grew more sick, more hungry, more cold.”

“Finally, about four years ago, I went to the corner where I'd been meeting with my brothers. I'd finally gotten a job that payed well and I was going to give them some money and let them stay with me in my new apartment. They hadn't been able to get a job because none of the places that needed help would take a homeless man. But when I got to the corner, there was a huge mass of people and police cars. Flashing lights blinded me as I pushed my way to the front of the crowd.” I stopped and put my head in my hands. “I'm sorry, I feel slightly sick. Could I get some more water please?” I took the offered glass and waved off the doctors suggestion of taking a break. “I'm nearly finished. I walked up to the first police officer and asked them what had happened. He told he that some hobo had gone up against a couple of muggers who had been attacking a women. The muggers had had a gun and shot him before running off. My heart fell through the sidewalk as a gurney with a sheet over the body moved to the waiting ambulance. I told the officer that my brother lived on the streets near here, and the officer looked closely at me before telling me gently that I had better look at the body.”

I took a sobbing breath and told the finally part of my past that had been locked inside my mind and soul. “River had always said if anyone needed help and he could do something about it, he would. Whenever someone was bullied at school, River would step in and put the bully in his or her place. I knew that was what had happened when I lifted the sheet with a numb hand and his face looked up at me. Then again, Keith had always been the one who wanted to be the hero in some action movie. It's been haunting me since then that I don't know who was the last brother to see through those dark eyes. Was it the first brother Keith? Or was it the silent but friendly River?” I started to cry openly and couldn't stop for what seemed like hours. I had finally done it. I had told someone the truth about what had happened to my brothers. I had told someone why I couldn't be near my parents because I blame them for what happened.

“I'm going to schedule a session for Friday and two pm and we can start to talk through this story and help you sort through your emotions. Don't worry Shelly, Everything is going to be alright. Your brothers will be remembered as they were, and you can say your proper goodbyes. Maybe we can even get your parents in here to help out their problems as well.” I look up in to Dr. Albertous's eyes and I feel myself relax and start to hope that maybe I could have a normal future after all.

Submitted: March 19, 2009

© Copyright 2022 Purplecorgi16. All rights reserved.

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