Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And That's How It Ends

My brother has a small interest in a new restaurant that just opened in Katy. If all goes as planned, this will be the first of many. His good friend was able to open it for under three hundred thousand, which to me sounds like an easy proposition, considering a house costs more.

I checked it out, and it was a really nice place. They bought a pay-per-view showing of ultimate fighting challenge, which in Texas seems to be all the rage. Basically there are hardly any rules. The fighters wear gloves, the kind you might use to punch a bag with. They kick, wrestle and pound. The fight isn't over until one is passed out, a fighter gives up, or is getting the tar beaten out of him so bad that the ref is forced to call it.

My bro asked me if I wanted a drink. I said sure, soda and lime if you please.

"No way," he said.

"Just get it," and think about one for you I thought to myself. I was still too shy to let him have it. He ordered a beer and forgot the soda. I held out for a while, but the guys were having fun and I was sulking. In the end I decided that he was a big boy, and nothing was being served by having a bad time myself, so I had a beer. And then another, and another. But I couldn't drown the feeling of failure.

We switched venues and went to a bar called Moes. Not a bad place. The band plays in a far corner near the dance floor. The farther you move away the less intense the sound, until a conversation is actually possible.

Out came the shots. The first was something liquid with a submerged shot glass with a dark liquor of some sort. I didn't ask. I threw it down. My bro found a pack of girls to flirt with, so I sat in a stool and watched him work. Hands flying, neck jutted forward, the posture of pure bullshit. His friend Zack, a good hearted self-proclaimed, and true in fact redneck from Nagotious Texas, looked on with pride. "There he goes again. I swear he can talk for hours with the ladies. He's got the gift."

We sat in a ring of stools while the alpha female danced and rubbed her ass on my kneecap. Apparently she is dating one of my bro's friends that she's just out having a good time. A good time in this case seemed to manifest itself in a tall country boy sporting a ten gallon cowboy hat. But that's no problem with anyone but me.

Thank God I'm married. If she were dating my friend, she would have gotten a surprise visit from him on her way to the back of Billy Bob's king cab. It's free floating testosterone that mires the mind of otherwise intelligent men.

I haven't been drunk like that in time way past. The urinal was surrounded by centerfolds, marked up with graffiti of course, arrows pointed at private parts now public, words I can't remember but funny only to a drunk. I swayed in front of the mirror, checking myself out through new eyes, then stumbled back to my stool for the strip show. Which was enjoyable by the way, just upsetting to an empathic drunk.
The wedding ceremony the next day was calm and austere. Blah blah blah. I know I'm married, but there is something totally wrong with weddings all. I've never liked going. I'd prefer a quick trip to the justice of the peace then a commune at the local pub, where a keg is plunked onto the bar and everyone serves up.

If anyone has ever read my short story, Hard Love, you will meet the woman whose ceremony I just attended. When I left for the airport, I said goodbye to her. She gave me a peck on the cheek and left without any more words. I was stunned. I just flew to across country to honor her so, and this is what I get in thanks. I have half a mind to cancel the check we wrote her.

I'm wondering if she is mad because I drank with her son the night before, the son that needs to quit drinking and get control of his life. The entire drive away from there was spent muttering my argument with her. How dare you give me a lecture in morality you blankety blank. If it weren't for my brother in sister, I wouldn't even know you anymore. You don't deserve anything from me. Not a thing. You hang your head in church like you were the virgin Mary, but I wonder if God guided your hand when it balled into a fist and knocked the wind out of me for not cleaning up after the dog one day. Or for the thousand smacks with the spoon, or the yelling and the degrading and the humiliation. You are a beater and a hater, and if that's what being a lamb of God is all about then you can keep the Catholic church, because where I'm rotting in hell with the rest of the sinners, I can rest easy that I won't be sharing real estate with you. At least my conscience is clean. And instead of holding God on a pedestal, I'm doing the same for my wife and children. I may be damned, but I can sleep easy at night. When I'm mad at somebody, I deal with the person involved. I don't beat someone else's child.

So what's next? I go home to my little plateau and try to live my life, take care of my children, and just hope that my brother pulls out of his funk. I just can't image that he will. When I said goodbye to him, it was hard to make eye contact. He knows. I see it in his face. I've always been so sure about what happens next. Now, it's out of my hands. I fucking hate this.


Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

It sounds like you have a whole bunch of stuff you need to get off your chest with both your brother and the lady in question.

There was a real sense of frustration to this.

It's not wise to reach boiling point with the lid on. It might blow off and burn people nearby, if you catch my drift.

Chin up, Scott

Kathleen said...

Good luck with dealing with all of this.

And since I'm Catholic, I feel the need to defend - no, that's not what the Church is about. I'm sorry you had to deal with that abuse.