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Home  > Family >  Generations

Grown Up, Grown Apart
by Kathy Watson

My sibling is a creature who carries half of me around inside him. No one on the planet is made more of me, and I of him, than my brother, Aaron.

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And though we look alike our arms just a fraction longer than our sleeves, our calves too thin for our long legs, our prominent noses we radically separate at that point like molecules in a pot of boiling water.

He's a Republican; I'm a Democrat. He's a southerner from the low country of Alabama. I'm a westerner from the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.

He's a buttoned-down, cock-sure, All-American church pastor and daddy of four, with a brilliant, beautiful wife and a 21-year marriage. I'm a two-time divorcee with two daughters in college, a far more liberal faith, a dog and a dirty pair of boots under my desk, and a wonderful husband in the next room who has finally rescued me from myself.

Yet with all our differences, something holds us together. He preaches at the pulpit and I see myself, a handsome balding man. He raises his arms in prayer and I see my father, dead since we were both small children. And yet something is missing.

How can a brother and sister with so much shared history and genetics seem so far apart? As children and adults, we have rarely sought each other out, or called each other first or at all to share joys or sorrows.

I wanted to know if my brother thought there was a chance that now, in our 40s, we might find a way toward each other. So I called him the other day at his church office, and we talked.

Kathy Watson: What's your first memory of me?

Aaron Fruh: Oh man, I need to think about these things.

K: Do you remember that December you were 3 when Dad died? I remember being angry at you for playing with a toy you got at Christmas and telling you, "You can't play with that! Your dad is dead!" Do you remember that?

A: No, no. No. I remember the night it happened, skating across the floor in slippers, and Grandpa put his hand on my shoulder and told me to stop. And Grandma and Mom screaming. I don't remember anything until waking up a year later, and the train ride to Mississippi.

But the first thing I can remember about you, there was a closet, and a vase in the top, and it fell down, and we tried to tell Mom there was an earthquake and that's why it fell.

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