Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!”–thank you, Pointer Sisters

I’m jazzed. So jazzed. I don’t show my excitement the way I did when I was younger. Is it because I’m older? Because I’m more mature? Or is it my Lithium?

No matter. I’m jazzed, exited, relieved and thankful. I sent my brother (my biological brother for you new followers) a text asking him where I needed to send the rent check for the apartment of his that I’m renting in Alba Adriatica, Italy. I had to re-send the text a couple of times before I heard from him.

His response? “I’m not charging you rent”.

Why? “Bob, you’re my bro.”

Wow. And again, wow.

Now the $350 I was to pay for renting his apartment (blocks from the Adriatic in fabulous Italy) is not going to bankrupt him. The amount doesn’t mean as much to him as it does to me. His financial situation is much better than mine. He makes tremendous money. I’m barely generating income from my writing.

No, it’s the gesture. The fact that he’s not only offering me his apartment in a seaside resort in Italy, but that he’s also refusing rent. He’s doing this to help me. Because I’m his bro.

His “bro”. Aaah.

Makes me feel good. As it should. Makes me feel lousy, too. Why?

I guess because I look back over the decades (as I shouldn’t) and re-live (which I shouldn’t) some of the ways in which I ignored him or trashed him. And why did I do that? Because he didn’t fit into the box I had created for him. He wouldn’t, or couldn’t, express to me the sentiments I needed in the manner in which I wanted them. And so I reacted.

But I shouldn’t feel lousy. The past is over. My brother is the type of man who doesn’t live in the past. Perhaps because for him there’s so many interesting things in the present, so many interesting things in the future to consider and experience. He doesn’t have the time or the interest to re-think what’s already been.

I, however, think about the past too much. Perhaps there’s a middle ground. “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Well, I’m going to create my own saying, “Those who dwell on history are doomed to re-live it.”

And, really, I’m not going to focus on feeling lousy. I’m learning from him, my lil’ bro. We learn from each other. I have to admit that I still don’t trust him completely. It goes back to the “living in the past” behavioral pattern that I’ve perfected. But I’m getting better.

I’m touched that he is doing this for me. In a different time, I wouldn’t have allowed it. Wouldn’t have accepted it. I would have felt that it gave him power or influence over me and I would be indebted. No more. Now I feel more comfortable. I express my affection for him differently now. It’s not so obsequious. It’s less rapturous. And I know it’s more comfortable for him. And it’s more comfortable for me.

And I like it. I’m tired of fawning and swooning like a slobbering sheepdog, begging for attention. How humiliating. How debilitating. This is much healthier.

I guess it’s not really the free rent that makes me happy. It’s the love that I feel from my brother. His desire to help his bro. It comes from somewhere. It’s something organic.

And that’s why I’m so excited. And I can’t hide it.

So I’m blogging about it.

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