I'm staring at the ceiling of our hotel room. Jack is snoring on the other bed and I'm doing my best to come to terms with the idea that I'm not likely to get any sleep at all tonight... what is it about hotels that causes mattresses to turn into torture devices? I don't know, I can usually sleep pretty much anywhere regardless of whether or not I have a bed available to me but for some reason I've never been able to get a good night's sleep while sleeping in a hotel... of course, this time around there may well be another reason for that. The truth is that today --or was that yesterday-- my whole world got suddenly turned upside down and I'm still trying to come to terms with everything that's happened.
I have a brother, that realization is finally beginning to sink in and while I'm delighted by this latest development, it is a development that also brings some less than pleasant revelations with it, some painful truths I'm going to have no choice but to come to terms with. As I told Blair, I'm glad I have a brother regardless of how he came about but the thing is that for the past thirty years I've had this image of my parents, of what my life would have been like if that cover stone hadn't... and now I'm suddenly being forced to confront the fact that the perfect family I remember may not have been quite so perfect after all because the simple fact is that if it had been then Blair wouldn't be here.
Yes, I'm delighted by the fact that I have a brother, I'm delighted by the fact that I'm not alone and the fact remains that that was the most important revelation of the day but that does nothing to change the fact that my newly discovered brother is only a half-brother... a half-brother I got because my father cheated on my mother. That is the other side of today's revelation, the side that is going to be far more difficult for me to come to terms with... the one that tells me that I don't know much more about my father than my brother does.
I was eight years old when my parents died and all my memories of them are colored by that eight year-old's perceptions. That is something I've known for quite some time on a rational level but up until today I had never had a reason to look into that image any deeper than that and right now I'm scared to death of what I might find if I were to start digging. In a way my parents' deaths made it possible for me to hold on to an uncomplicated perception of them that would have crumbled on its own if they had lived a little bit longer... if they had lived long enough for me to reach my teens and start questioning the things I saw around me.
It is the idea of coming to terms with a tarnished image of my father that is contributing to my inability to sleep tonight. It is an idea that has me wondering who my parents really were. All I have are the memories of an eight year old child who still believed his dad could fly, an eight year old who was suddenly and painfully confronted with his parents mortality but at the same time an eight year old who never had a chance to get to know his parents as fallible human beings.
What caused the fight that led to Blair's birth? I'll never know... I'll never even know if my dad's one night stand with his mother was an isolated incident or if it was something that was ongoing... something that happened more than once. The truth is that there are a number of things I've always wondered about my parents and there are also quite a few answers I've sought but the one that was presented to me today wasn't one of them. Over the years what I've managed to find out about my parents has had more to do with who they were as archeologists than with who they were as human beings but if what I learned here today is anything to go by then I'm not sure I want to know.
When I was eight my dad was the coolest guy in the world. I was sure he could fly and in my eyes he was indestructible... at least until I saw him die right in front of me... and now here I am, thirty years later, being suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with his humanity just like I was suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with his mortality all those years ago and the truth is that I can't help but feel betrayed. I'm getting ready to spend tomorrow getting to know my brother, getting to know the living proof that my dad wasn't as perfect as I thought he was... getting to know the living proof that he wasn't Superman.