I lied to my brother to reunite with him after 30 years apart. He has made us closer.

I lied to my brother to reunite with him after 30 years apart.  He has made us closer.

  • My father remarried and had a son, my half brother, whom I had known once.
  • I wanted to know more about my father who died in 2011 so I lied to my brother to meet.
  • We have learned that we are more alike than we thought, and this has brought us closer together.

I have a younger half-brother on my father’s side. We met once when I was a teenager, but as adults we only knew each other from social media. I’ve always been curious about my father’s part, but it was one of those things that I thought I would explore.

My relationship with my mother’s side is strained. Lately, I’ve been feeling the loss. I knew it was time to act if I wanted family members I could be close to.

“I have a work event in Nashville,” I lied to my brother in a text. “Wanna grab a coffee when I’m in town?”

There was no work event. Coffee was a low-stakes meeting that I could walk out of if it didn’t go well.

“Sounds great. I’d love to meet up,” she replied.

That’s right, I planned a 1,500-mile trip to meet a brother I hadn’t seen in over thirty years.

I wanted to know more about our father

I was wondering what we would talk about. I wanted to know who he was and what it was like growing up with our father, who had remarried and moved away when my parents divorced. My father was a bass player in Nashville, Tennessee, touring with stars like Reba McEntire before he died in 2011.

I booked a hotel with an atrium; depending on how things went, my brother and I could talk for hours without the constraints of a coffee shop, or I could apologize for “work commitments.” I was nervous because the meeting contained so many possibilities.

I recognized my brother right away. We hugged without words and it almost felt like a homecoming. I forgot my nervousness as we started our conversation.

I had endless questions about our father. I found out that he was one of those great, fun parents with few house rules. I imagined being a teenager in that house instead of spending those years in foster care. We connected to shared family dysfunctions and memories of our father which introduced us to the intricacies of music.

We were very similar

My brother and I were more alike than I expected. Our childhood and adolescence were troubled. Each of us was the black sheep of our family. We had both hit the road as adults. I rarely meet others like me, yet our lives had so many parallels.

“I don’t have a work thing here,” I admitted. “I didn’t want it to be weird that I drove 10 hours to see you.” He laughed, saying she understood. She teased me a bit about the white lie.

“Have you been to Lower Broadway?” I asked during a pause in our conversation.

I’d heard of the downtown neighborhood being described as a combination of Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip, something fun to experience together for the first time. He shook his head. He had moved as a child. He had only been back in Nashville a few weeks.

“It looks crazy there,” I said. “Do you want to go?”

We arrived at dusk and the streets were packed. Almost every storefront was a bar with live music playing in the open windows. Each had a unique neon sign. The aroma of aged liquor wafted from the bars as we passed, mingling with the cigarette smoke and musky scent of the street.

Our conversation moved to that environment. We shared stories of war, the more extreme things we’d done growing up and into our 20s. I didn’t confess like this to friends at home; in many incidents, I was old enough to know more. In his stories, he was too. It was the first time I’d admitted to my worst, funniest, and most dangerous adventures, and I knew the listener would get his stories, rather than judge me by my own.

When I contacted, I was prepared to drive almost anywhere to meet my brother “for coffee”. I hadn’t explained to myself what the meeting would mean, but I got what I was looking for. Carried away by the crowd in that anything goes atmosphere, we formed a richer and more honest bond than we could have found at the hotel.

Considering how deeply we connected, almost as strangers at first, perhaps we were meant to share our secrets from the start.

#lied #brother #reunite #years #closer

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