I miss the brother I never had

Is it possible to miss something you never had?  I think it is, although my psychologist would probably tell me that it’s just another form of regret, something I need to get over.

But I wonder.

From the time I can remember, I daydreamed about a brother sharing my life.  Sometimes it was a twin brother.  Sometimes it was a younger brother, but most often it was an older brother.

I had two older sisters, but somehow, I always felt that I was the main subject of parental scrutiny.  I think an older brother may have given me a sense of security lacking in my childhood.  A protector, shielding me from judgmental parents as well as from the confusing and often-intimidating outside world.

My brother’s name was Rusty, which is coincidental, because that was my alter ego’s name, as well.  Rusty was intrepid, fearless and said those things out loud that only rattled around in my brain.  As I replayed the day’s events in my mind, Rusty would often appear to set the record straight.  Rusty said the things I should have said, he did the things I should’ve done.

More important, though than having Rusty speak for me, was having Rusty listen to me.  He always understood what I was thinking, why I did the things I did, why I said the things I said.  It was easy to share my thoughts with Rusty and he always found a way to make it seem like I was braver than I really was; smarter, too.  Rusty was my life coach, long before anyone ever heard of life coaches.

In the 1950’s movie, “Harvey”, James Stewart plays an eccentric Elwood P. Dowd who seems normal enough, except for his ever-present friend, Harvey, a 6-foot tall, invisible rabbit.

As a bonus, Harvey has a few special powers, including the ability to stop time.  I think all of us might like to have a friend who can do that, invisible or not.

I can see, though where having a friend like Harvey  could help one navigate the complexities of life.  I know many people who rely on friends like Jack Daniels and Mary Jane.  Whatever gets you through the night.

There was a “Two and A Half Men” episode where Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) utilized a puppet doll named “Danny” to express his feelings and frustrations.  “Danny” could be blunt and direct, where Alan was prone to beating around the bush.

Rusty, however was more than all that.  More than a 6-foot tall, invisible rabbit, more than a puppet at the end of my arm.  He was a part of my family that I, evidently found woefully missing.

At times, Rusty was just a daydream, the kind which is probably shared by many young people.   At least, I hope that’s the case.  There were times, though when I would wake from REM sleep, scouring my consciousness for a clue that the brother about which I had just been dreaming was real.  He never was.

If I had to guess, each of us has his “Harvey” or “Danny” or “Rusty”.  Life doesn’t come with instructions and we all need whatever help we can get.  Growing up, I had Rusty.  I know he was a figment of my imagination, but you know what?  Sometimes I still miss that brother of mine.

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