Friday, June 12, 2015

The Kid Left Behind

My dad emailed me a few days ago to say that he is out of the hospital and living in his own house again.  My older brother Dante moved back home years ago, shortly after my mother moved out.  He told my dad he was being evicted for failing to pay rent.  He has always been against paying rent.  He brought his girlfriend and her son with him.  He has apparently broken up with his girlfriend since then, but her son, Aiden, still lives at the house.

It's a bachelor pad now, my dad said, just the three of them.  He also said Aiden missed his last year of high school because his mother didn't enroll him before she left and Dante "didn't have the right paperwork."  He's spent the last year alone in his room (my old room, by deductive reasoning) playing video games.  This angers my dad, who says he needs to get a job or at least enroll at a trade school.  It reminded me of the way he used to talk about Dante.  He didn't like Dante. 

Dante at least had parents who made him go to school. 

I only met Aiden once, at my wedding when he was about ten.  He seemed like a sweet kid, ginger hair and a shy smile and a lisp.  Dante was the father figure in his life from the time he was four.  That thought scares me.  I have known Dante since he was six, and we lived in adjacent bedrooms for 18 years.  My bedroom door -- now Aiden's bedroom door -- has a knee-shaped splintering from one of Dante's rages when he tried to break it down to get to me.  Another time he wrapped his hands around my neck and simultaneously choked me while lifting me off the ground.  These events happened when he was in his twenties and I was a teenage girl.  These are not the worst things he did, but I don't want to talk about those.  I believe he is a psychopath. 

My mother told me Dante had grown up and changed once he was in his thirties, that he was so great with Aiden that the kid was the only reason he hadn't broken up with his girlfriend.  That Aiden loved him so much that he'd suggested as a very young child that they could both leave his mother and live together, just the two of them.  None of this seemed weird to her, just complimentary.

I am ashamed to admit it didn't even occur to me until Aiden was 17 that my brother might have abused him.  It only occurred to me when I was talking to my therapist about him and she gave me a look and asked how old he was, so basically it occurred to my therapist.  She was a mandated reporter and wanted to know if she needed to contact the local Child Protective Services.  Apparently the things I said would have warranted a call if he'd been younger.  He's at an age where no one cares about him now.

The times I've met Dante since moving out, I saw no change in him.  He's very good with strangers, very personable, and we're effectively strangers now, so we're cordial.  The last time I talked to him was three or four years ago.  We exchanged pleasantries -- he congratulated me on my new baby he would never meet and I asked about his garden I would never see -- but only because I'd called my dad at home and Dante had answered.  It's the sort of relationship I would expect to have with a neighbor I saw commit a murder.  The goal is to keep my distance and not to seem like a threat.

I don't know what to do about Aiden.  I don't think there is anything I can do.  He's still young.  He could still get out and do things, but he's 18 so no one will help him.  He still seems like a sweet, albeit mostly grown, kid, at least based on my skulking quietly on his Facebook page.  He has some local family on social media, but they haven't taken him in.  He posts regularly about anime and being lonely.  I don't know where his mother went.  I know it's unlikely, but I'm not 100% certain my brother didn't murder her.  She has no internet presence, and I don't know anyone who would have seen her.  I don't want to turn up on Dante's radar.  I don't know what to do.

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