My older brother, Rob, is getting out of prison in September.
I haven’t written a great deal about my brother because it’s hard. I love him, dearly, because he is my only brother and he is my family.
Rob has not had an easy life.
When I made my surprise trip to see my parents after being sent on a work trip an hour and a half away across Orlando (which all I can say about that is I4 sucks — it is both under construction and despirately in need of construction). My Nana Rosie had been in the hospital the night previously, so it just made sense to bite the Orlando traffic bullet and go see them.
At least the view was nice.
Mom, dad, and my newly released from the hospital Nana Rosie got to talking about my impending marriage to HB and our plans for children.
Mom asked if I still had anything from my childhood. Truthfully, the only thing I have is a baby blanket my Nana Rosie crocheted for me. My mom pulled out this dusty old shoe box with some old moments she’d kept over the years, as moving around constantly and going through a foreclosure when you’re a kid will cause you to lose lots of things.
And this… is me and my hardened criminal brother.
That night, my dad and I got to talking about Rob’s plans — he was having foot surgery this month, because while making license plates at Smith State Prison near McRae, GA he dropped a box of license plates on his foot and it never healed right. He had to fight to get this surgery, even transferring to a more medically inclined prison in Waycross, GA over a year ago… and waited. Now with his imminent departure, he had to really buckle down on administration and the DOC to get that surgery.
If he waited until he got out, the cost would be astronomical. But the irony of it is, that if it had happened not in prison, Workman’s Comp would have covered it… but that’s a different story.
When Rob gets out, he is going to file interstate compact paperwork to go live with my parents in FL. My dad has a job lined up for him, and when he gets enough saved, he will move to a nearby efficiency apartment they have picked out. My parents are already bequeathing him my mother’s jeep, as she doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything.
See, my brother has never signed a lease. Had a car payment. Or done any other real adult things. Other than being institutionalized, he’s lived with family and family friends. He’s never been truly on his own.
That night, during my surprise visit, my dad had a few beers and told me about how all this started… well, to him.
We were living in some shifty apartments in Lawrenceville, GA. My brother had a school bus bully who would rough him up and sent him home with shiners and a busted lip. My dad pulled him aside and taught Rob to defend himself — take no shit. In the days following, it was not Rob who came home with a busted lip, but his bully… whose father showed up on our doorstep with his son and his alligator tears.
My dad explained the situation and there were words exchanged.
But after that, Rob took no shit and stood up for himself.
I remember later, he’d got in trouble for fighting and even bringing a pocket knife to school. Not the asshats who bullied him. The school called the house one day, and I picked it up. I couldn’t have been but 8-9 years old. I called to mom to pick up the other phone, but never hung up my end. I listened with my hand over my mouth to stifle my breathing, about the knife, the expulsion… the charges.
Rob got sent to juvie. When he came back they had to change schools… and again, the same thing…
The third time in juvie was after we bought the house in Monroe, GA.
See, my brother, being the bullied outcast, hangs out with other outcasts and does stupid outcast shit… like getting high on crystal meth and breaking into cars in one of the nearby, more wealthier subdivisions.
When he got out, it was around Thanksgiving of 2002 or 2003. He was 17, going to turn 18 that May.
We lived in a nicer neighborhood, apparently. I’d made friends with one of the neighbor girls. She was beautiful, and popular, and friendly to my face. She only ever came around when she wanted something
My brother had a crush on her. I had caught them kissing, some groping and all that jazz. One night, she was babysitting down the street. She called the house phone; I remember taking the call and passing the phone over. She asked Rob to visit her at our neighbor’s where she was babysitting.
That was a Sunday.
Monday morning, when I met her at the bus stop, she said my brother was being annoying.
I’d dismissed it. He’s always annoying.
Friday night, we went out for Chinese and when we got home, police cars and their blue lights suddenly surrounded our house and took my brother away in cuffs. The cops wouldn’t tell us anything but the words “child molestation”. We asked it it was the neighbor girl, and they wouldn’t tell us. My dad knew. My dad went to our next door neighbor, his best friend at the time, hackles raised and screamed at him. Cops pulled my dad away.
Turns out, she’d invited him over for canoodling. They did some heavy petting. She wanted to have sex. He didnt. She got pissed and told her dad that my brother sexually assaulted her.
I read her police statement and tore it apart. She lied and said she never kissed Rob, when I had physically watched them kissing and being handsy. She said he came over unannounced, when I had been the one to pick up the phone. She said he was apparently some sort of contortionist who fully inserted two fingers inside of her body for 15 full minutes, while she was wearing the tight jeans, fully zipped and buttoned up she always wore. My brother is over six foot tall and weighs about 220. He does not have small hands.
At school, it was a nightmare. Her being pretty and popular, and telling everyone got me blacklisted hard core. But people grew wise. Turns out my brother wasn’t the only person she tried that shit with. She would get handsy with other girls’ boyfriends, and got a reputation about her. Folks got wise. Mother’s kept their sons away from her.
My brother became a cautionary tale.
I found out later her daddy wanted to drop the charges but the DA or prosecutor or whomever just picked them up and kept them going.
But this, it fractured our family. I mean, we didn’t have much. My mom lost her job over the small town rumor mill bullshit, had a mental breakdown and got into hard drugs.
At the time, I thought she was possessed by a demon.
I was right.
I didn’t know about the drugs until after I graduated college. I thought she was seriously mentally ill, which she was and still is.
We were told that it it went to trial no jury would not convict him and he would get a minimum of 10 years. He plead down to three and 18 years probation… and a lifetime membership on the sex offender registry.
Because of one lying girl.
He should have just fucked her. “Statutory rapist” sounds better than “child molester.”
And he got out three years later in 2006. My parents had moved to Florida (first time) near my Nana Lynda. He had used an interstate compact to move down.
Until his paperwork went through, he stayed with my Nana Rosie briefly. Within a week someone posted flyers on every door in her neighborhood, emblazoned with Rob’s mugshot and the words “child molestation”.
Sometime during that time, he’d run into that girl’s dad and and gas station — her dad broke down in tears and apologized for everything. My brother hugged his neck, and told him he was forgiven. Her dad didn’t know what she was until later.
But he did not prosper when he got to Florida . His probation officer was some she-wolf who looked at him as some evil pedophile and an actual struggling human being. When I graduated high school in 2006 and moved down to stay with my folks for six months before starting university, his probation officer grilled him about our sibling relationship, my age (18, turning 19 in October), my purpose for being there.
He had a hard time keeping jobs, fell back on paying his probation, got violated, which in turn mucked up his interstate compact, and he was returned to Walton County, GA by some nice Federal Marshalls who bought him a Big Mac and a coke on the trip.
My parents soon followed back to Georgia. He couldn’t stay with my Nana, obviously. And my folks just kind of uprooted.
And he did okay. Got and job with my dad driving trucks after they got their CDL’s together.
The thing is — my brother only does well when my dad is around. He gets up on time, works hard…
But dad isn’t gonna be here forever.
My folks wanted to go back to Florida. My brother was stable enough at the time. But as soon as they left, he started hanging around bad people again… and he got in trouble again… over a stupid, pretty girl.
They were out drinking one night and thought it would be super awesome to go and confront his girlfriend’s friend’s boyfriend for cheating on her.
Long story short, badness ensued. The boyfriend stabbed my brother in the arm (aka permanent nerve damage) and in self defense my brother whipped out his unnecessarily large pocket knife and just Zorro’d the motherfucker. No witnesses, because my brother’s girlfriend was practicing fisticuffs on her friend’s boyfriend’s side piece, or whatever kids call it these days.
Legal shit ensued — “those don’t look like defensive wounds”, “he only got stabbed in the arm”, “on probation”, “aggrivated assault”, “sex offender”, “recidivism”, “plea deal”.
And almost four years later, here we are.
After all this, my brother has become someone I don’t like. I know that’s harsh and circumstantial, but he is bitter, angry, hateful, vindictive, depressed, needy, misogynistic. But, I love him. Because he is my only brother.
My dad constantly tells him, you need to cut the shit attitude.
I think he needs therapy when he gets out. And maybe medication.
But, as a family, we will support Rob. As we always have.
— Carolanne, HDH