Sometimes he would visit friends who had families. And he was always amazed and amused and mystified in the love exhibited between these friends and their families. He came from a very large family. His parents had eight kids. Technically speaking, he had five brothers and two sisters. However, of those seven siblings, he only loved two of them—his big sisters. Of his brothers, he had a variance of emotional attachments that tilted from outright hatred to complete neutrality. He just didn’t give a rat’s ass about them, or their wives, or their families (with the exception of some nephews and nieces).
He could go into the whys and wherefores of this situation, but he’d done it so many times in the unbounded dimensions of his own mind that it was almost (but not quite) a tired subject for him. Briefly, he could say that his relationships with his brothers had been based on either abuse or ridicule or disinterest toward him. Some of them he’d like to have seen dead, the others he didn’t really care to see at all. Wasted time, in any event.
And his sisters, the two siblings whom he loved…well, he rarely saw them. The oldest sister was married to an execration; a truly selfish monster whose presence was so distasteful to him that he couldn’t bear to be around him. Therefore, he didn’t have much occasion to see that sister. And the youngest sister, knowing of his distaste and hatred for most of their fellow siblings and their families, found it exceedingly difficult to wedge him in to any visits or leisure time she might have had.
That’s why he found it pleasant and amusing and mysterious to see the family interactions of friends and acquaintances. It was all just so foreign and strange to him.
When he was a kid, and had no choice, he had to endure the company of his brothers. This was almost uniformly a series of very negative and abusive experiences. It was no wonder that his early manhood was spent building up his physical strength so that he walked around as a quite dangerous and powerful ape with a tendency to resort to violence in altercations with males of the species. When he grew up, he continued to endure the company of these brothers out of tradition. He would go to family gatherings and to reunions and profess his love for these folk. Indeed, he was fairly certain that he did love these creatures, out of sheer determination if for no other reason.
At last, though, after some extremely hideous exchanges, some betrayals, the dredging up of some poisonous memories from his childhood, it occurred to him that he was just doing more damage to himself by continuing to mingle with these scumbags. And so, rather later than he should have, he cut off contact between himself and his male siblings. He did encounter a couple of these folk in later years, but out of accident rather than intention. Fortunately for the ones for whom he felt only intense hatred, they had not crossed paths (unless, of course, they saw him first and wisely hid).
For his part, he had his own family: a wife and son and his wife’s mother. Those were the folk for whom he felt the closest connections. These were the people whom he loved the most. There were also his sisters, a couple of nephews, and a couple of nieces, and the children of those nieces and nephews. He loved these people, too, but he rarely saw them and even more rarely shared quality time with them. The holiday seasons that saw vast gatherings at the houses where his parents lived, when all of his brothers and sisters and his parents’ grandchildren would gather--those were only strange memories for him. He would never again see the likes of those, as his tiny family would remain quite small.
And that’s as it should be.