I have an update on my brother, from my mother, by way of my brother's wife.
It was in writing, either by old-fashioned mail, or by email. Third hand.
Here is the gist.
Mon frere (feeling the French birthright this eve), allegedly has been having an affair for at least the last eighteen months. Probably longer.
The other woman is (by now) a former friend of my soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law. Dah!
According to said-future-ex, she is no longer friendly with her friend (astonishing), and that she filed for divorce from my brother in January of this year (the latter is actually somewhat astonishing, in that it happened fully six months ago).
My pending ex-sister-in-law alleged that the kids are are better off, now that she has moved them back to her condominium by the beach. Good thing she didn't sell the place.
She added that she knew about my brother's affair. And she said something to the effect that he said she "couldn't handle the truth."
I thought to myself, what? Was he quoting from that awful Tom Cruise - Demi Moore - Jack Nicholson (playing Jack Nicholson, of course) film? How pathetic (even if fellow alum Aaron Sorkin did pen it). And I wouldn't be the least surprised.
In fact, I wish I could admit that I am surprised at this turn of events. But I am not.
My brother is continuing those patterns he created for himself from the earliest years of his adulthood: Serial monogamous relationships, one woman dovetailing the other, never of his own doing or machinations (he would insist stridently - since it seems to me that he is incapable or unwilling to accept responsibility for his duplicitous actions). He would attempt to control the women (shades of our father), berating her physical appearance, demanding strict diets and health regimens (how screwed up is that?). I know it worked on weaker-minded women. The stronger ones - and they were few in comparison - walked away. One walked away to another woman. I hoped, for a moment, that that might have taught him something about the fragility of masculinity.
Oops. My bad. That would have required some self-reflection.
And so it repeats.
My hope is that my niece, whom I hardly know - in fact I do not know either of my nieces, not being prone to close relations within or among my immediate family - will fare well. She struck me, for all her sleep disorders, as a cool little kid, with her own sense of self, and a real willingness to be happy.
For all my shyte, I have been described recently as a happy person. There is value in that. Even when sad moments offer a counterpoint.
This world and this life are a gift. They are all our swollen neurology can know. I've written it before, in terms of this capricious, unknowable world: The best we can do is pay attention, be mindful, and be grateful.
Someday, maybe, my niece and I will walk along a beach - and have a conversation.