To Have And Half Not.

Posted by admin on July 22, 2013 in Family |

When I was in Vegas playing my piratical guts out, I happened to get a call from someone in town. It’s a funny thing these days, getting calls that show you where someone is calling from, and often, if the person is known to you, you even know who it is that’s on the other end of the line.

This is a wonderful advance in technology, for along with voicemail, I feel absolutely no need to answer the phone ever, especially when it’s a number I’m not familiar with.

Still, this phone number had a familiar ring to it, if you will. I originally thought it was someone from the festival letting us know that our performance time had changed. That would not be entirely unexpected, especially with a festival that is in its first year.

However, no message was left. Hhm, I thought. Who would be calling me in Vegas? It didn’t take too long to figure it out. It was my pseudo-brother. Or as I like to call him, my fauxther.

I don’t think he knew I was in Vegas. I hadn’t apprised him that I would be visiting Sin City, the place he calls home. I only know that a week or so before, I had received an email from someone in Vegas who claimed to be my fauxther, and that he had news he wanted to share with me.

I didn’t reply. As I’ve shared before, I am something of a brotherless child. Though I tried to establish a relationship with my fauxther, it just didn’t work out.

There’s a reason for this, I suppose. You see, I didn’t know about Bill until I was in my thirties. He came to me on a summer’s day via a phone call from an intermediary in King County. Since I was the youngest of the brood, the powers that be figured I would be most likely to accept the fact that my father had had his hands in another cookie jar before I was born. I guess my other siblings would not have been happy to hear about this, since they were pre-fauxther, Bill fitting in between Brian and I in the birth order.

I originally was quite pleased to hear that I had another brother, even if he was only half of one. Since my brothers and I weren’t on speaking terms, I could get at least some of my family back, even if it was family I didn’t know I even had.

I met Bill in Reno not too long after. It was awkward and strange. We shared half of a face. From the chin to the nose we looked a lot alike. From the nose on up, not so much. Unfortunately, looks aren’t everything in the case of making a match. We had very different lives and were in very different places.

Me, I was working at a bank, doing employee communications. Bill was on probation, having been caught trafficking drugs as a runner for some dealers. He turned state’s evidence and was now trying to put his life back together. He had gone from a pillar of society to a felon.

Laugh if you wish. It was definitely a strange combination and I always felt weird talking about our respective lives. He was obsessed with playing guitar in a band, as if he were trying to recapture his simpler, hippy days. You’d think that would be something that tied us together, but it didn’t. He was a rocker and I was something of a folkie. I was flying all over the U.S. and Caribbean playing pirate and he couldn’t legally leave Nevada without getting permission from his parole officer.

Eventually, he came up to Seattle to visit me. Ironically, he had lived in Seattle all his life, right up until about a year before he went seeking his birth family. He was the manager of the Greyhound bus station downtown, not six blocks from where I was working at the bank. We could have passed each other on the street and not even known we were related.

We weren’t really. Sure, we had the same sperm donor, my dad. He had spread his joy somewhere and at some point and a son resulted, Bill. Then he went back to his family and not long after, I came along.

Bill went to live with his adoptive family in Snohomish, living in relative wealth and security. I grew up poor in Renton with an alcoholic dad who was in and out of the hospital most of the time. Our lives were fundamentally different in nearly every respect.

The only thing we truly shared was our history of failed relationships. I’m not sure which one of us had the worst taste, though I have to give it to Bill since he called one day and said that while he and Candy were washing the car, they decided to go get married while the car was still drying in the sun. First, never marry a woman named Candy. Second, live in a state where there is a waiting period so that you can come to your senses, especially when you’ve been out in the sun all day and your brain is half baked in the heat.

I guess I will never know if it was Bill calling that day. I completed my trip to Las Vegas without a visit from my fauxther. I admit that I looked around on occasion at the festival I was at. If he had really wanted to find me, he could have just looked at the Pyrates of the Coast website and see that we were in Vegas that weekend. Perhaps he did, and that’s why I received a mysterious phone call without any voicemail.

Some things are better left as they are. I’m glad I didn’t answer the phone that day. I still have nothing to say. Nature didn’t win over nurture in my life. While I will always have a half brother, just as I have full ones, we will never have any history to bind us.

Blood may be thicker than water, but it can’t create a connection that isn’t there.

In the Emerald City, still a brotherless child,

– Robb

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