The Favorite

December 21 2018

My brother has always been my mother's favorite. She denies it vehemently, but if you called her female in an accusatory tone, she'd deny that too. This turned out to be their downfall. I believe her preference for my brother stems back to the fact that my presence ruined her life. Subconsciously, or maybe even on a conscious level, she knows that she never would have married my father, she would have finished high school, and her life may have turned out much differently had she not made the stupid decision that led to unwanted, teenage pregnancy. My brother, alternatively, was a wanted, planned pregnancy, and this elevated him to a higher class of citizen. Much like the Untouchables of the Indian caste system, I had no hope of bettering my circumstances and simply came to accept my position as fact. My brother continued to enjoy his role as the Crown Prince through The Divorce and all the ensuing ugliness. I protected myself by refusing to talk and walling myself off from all and sundry. Andy, on the other hand, was easy. Easy going, easy to get along with, easy to love. Before the divorce was finalized, when Dick and Debbie were living in sin in MY family's home on Elizabeth Street, a fight between my mother and I led to me moving in with my father who was living with his parents on the farm. I am 99.99% confident that my mother has never forgiven me for this. My brother went up another knotch. Add another knotch for his ability to live peacefully with Dick when I hated him with a passion that would have made Leona Helmsley glow with pride. When my mother and Dick finally moved from Elizabeth St., Debbie summoned me to collect the rest of my belongings. My Aunt Kitty and Uncle Clyde were there. My bedroom was empty, and I was standing in the middle of it crying. My mother told me to hurry up, they were ready to leave, choosing to ignore my tears and what they stood for. My Aunt Kitty gave me a look of such pity but said nothing. They moved to a house in Salisbury with two bedrooms. When they moved from there to a house in Sharptown which Dick had built, I still had no place in their home. I always wondered if this was my punishment for moving out, or if it was Dick's decision to keep me at arm's length due to our mutual hatred. My mother spent years and decades choosing Dicky over me, and sometimes Andy, something else she will vehemently deny, but this blew up in her face like a shook up Coca-Cola. I hadn't been to their home for several years, not since Dicky explicitly let me know that he didn't want me there, so truly, I had no idea how bad things had gotten. Dicky had been cheating on Debbie for some time it would seem, and worse, she knew and stayed. I think he was doing everything he possibly could to make her move out, but the sorry, sad truth was that she had no where to go and no money to get there. My mother, like many members of her family has a propensity for things. All kinds of things. Big things, little things. Useful things, ridiculous things. Her home was lavishly appointed in Modern Eastern Shore, which meant the theme was ducks and labradors. She made sure there was furniture to fit each nook and niche of the house, and that all the appliances were top of the line. She mistakenly believed that these were contributions to their home, and that paying the electric and cable bills, but not the mortgage, made her an equal equity partner. The day came, however, when Dick finally told her to leave. There would be no recompense for her accoutrement, and, in fact, she could take it all. There would be no buy out since she had never bought in. She had nothing but the Mount Everest of all credit card debt, a credit report that should be hidden away like a mentally ill great aunt, and her favorite son, who was the brand new co-owner of a townhouse, having only moved in months before. This, my friends, is the crossroads, the decision that is going to change their lives, because from here on out, things are going to get hairy. Turns out I was lucky not to be the favorite. To this day, I'm not sure what Andy's original intentions were, but he ended up buying a house with Deborah Ann. To be fair, I don't think either him or I were truly aware of the financial problems that were brewing. The first warning sign should have been the necessity for her name not to be on the mortgage. It's like watching a horror movie where the blond haired, big boobed, bimbo hears something in the attic and decides to take a peak. I look back and, with a pillow over my face, yell, "No Andy! Don't do it!" But he did. There are multiple versions of everything that happened after this point. I do know for sure that his friend had to buy out his share of the townhouse, something which caused Andy shame. Things tottered along on South Mill Dr. for awhile, but on the horizon the clouds were getting dark. Meanwhile, I had never been asked to be a part of this endeavour, something which was hurtful at the time, but which makes me now chuckle with glee, and I was living in literal squalor on RIverside Dr. But as Betty Louise Calloway Wilkins used to say, the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day. In fairly rapid succession, two things happened. Firstly, Andy met Lisa, fell in love, and moved out. Secondly, I bought a house and moved from squalor to decent middle class status. If the obvious doesn't jump out and grab you, let me explain. Andy was getting ready to start a life and a family, and was currently sole responsible owner of the house in which mom was living, a house he no longer wanted, while I was no longer in a position to jump into his shoes. It is my belief that Deborah Ann resented Lisa from the starter's gun for taking Andy away from her and leaving her in a financially precarious position. Now if I'm being honest, Lisa wasn't the easiest person to get to know, but there was lighter fluid being dumped on that fire from all sides.