When I was still small, and my brothers moved away, when they would come home from school or the military, they would come wake me up to say hello, and talk with me. Those minutes of excitement and being listened to were rare treats. These are very special memories, if a bit hazy with sleep. It was all apiece with my adoration of my brothers - fed by my mother's assurance that they loved me so much, and couldn't wait to see me when they got home.
Sure, teenage boys couldn't wait to see their baby sister.
This is my mother's fantasy about her own brothers who were much older, Uncle Walt in particular, who she wrote to every week when he was serving in WWII, and who came back home with a wife. Or the eldest who died at 17, drowned, with hints of suicide.
And the clear truth sat there, patiently waiting for me to notice, raised it's eyebrows and shrugged. Oh. This makes everything make so much more sense, as though I'd been putting together what I thought was a puzzle of a mountain that turned out to be a sailing ship instead.
Well, no. Mom put them up to it. Insisted on it, as she prodded me to send birthday/father's day cards and calls. She orchestrated a loving family, made it out of whole cloth without regard to the actual people involved, most of which were uninterested or assholes. Both, usually. Dangerous thing, to base one's happiness on other people loving each other.
Everything my brothers have done since, in this light, makes complete sense. Including retelling the fable, without actually behaving lovingly - which is what is required for real love.
The most supremely unemotional moment, realizing this. So much better that I was irrelevant to them, than that they once loved me, then betrayed me. No need for forgiveness, nothing to forgive. Simply a story misapplied.
No more false stories.
No more fake fucking heros.