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I was raised with my youngest brother and only found out about my other brother around seven years ago.   But, today, I only have a relationship with my newly found brother.

Thirty years ago I met my youngest brother’s best friend.  I’d just given birth and was in the middle of a divorce I did not want.  I’d left a note on my brother’s truck saying I’d had the baby and was heading home.  His best friend wanted to come see the new baby, too, and tagged along.  I was in a bathrobe, looking like a total mess.  But, he seemed to fall head over heels in love with my newborn and me.  I could not have asked for a better friend over the next four years.  He and his family were wonderful to us.

However, my own family, my mother and my brother, did everything to discourage that relationship.  They claimed I’d never ever be happy with him.  They claimed he was beneath me.  And, my brother tried to convince him I was an awful person.

Eventually he grew tired of waiting and got involved with someone else.  He married her and lived happily ever after.
Five years later I met another friend of my brother.  This time I married the guy.  My brother claimed no one would take better care of my kids and me than this friend would.  He said the friend’s questionable past was only due to the horrible women he’d been involved with.  I drank the Kool aid hard and fast.  But, after sixteen years of abuse that rivaled that of my childhood, the marriage unraveled.

The first Thanksgiving after my second husband left I couldn’t bear to cook.  I couldn’t bear to entertain and wait on my brother who had betrayed me to my abuser.  Thankfully, my other brother, the new found one, invited me to his house to be with his family. 

And, there I met his best friend.

He had a girlfriend, and I was reeling from court, my mother’s death, the loss of everything, and was still trying to recover from the sudden onset of health problems ten months earlier. 

I really didn’t remember him.

This Independence Day my brother once again invited us both to his house.  And, the timing is right now. 

We’ve spent up to five hours at a time on the phone in the evenings this past week.  Yesterday my brother, his wife, the friend, and my kids and I went to a local lake for the afternoon.  When it got crowded late in the day, my brother and his wife headed home.  His friend, my kids, and I moved to a private side of the lake where he continued to teach my children to fish while I napped on the beach.

I don’t know where this is going.  But, I like him.  My kids like him.  I feel relaxed and calm when he talks or when he’s near.  He’s not perfect.  Far from it.  He’s just a nice guy who likes to fish and cook, who loves his kids and his dog, and who looks at me like he thinks I’m funny and pretty. 

I’m scared.  I regret not “going for” my youngest brother’s one friend 30 years ago.  He looked at me like I was funny and pretty.  He was thoughtful and easy going.  He’d have been a good life partner.  I regret marrying my youngest brother’s other friend.  He hurt my children and me.  He not only looked at me like I was stupid and ugly, but he strangled, beat, stole from, lied about, and much, much worse, not only me, but my children also. 

Funny how life repeats itself.  I haven’t really dated at all since the divorce and here I am hanging out with a brother’s friend.  Once again.  What will it be this time?  Will I regret this some day?  If so, will I regret not allowing him into our lives?  Or, will I regret trusting him?

Only time will tell.  Right now only one thing is certain.  I’m looking forward to fishing and napping again next weekend where the wind blows through the trees and the sun bounces off the water, where children laugh, and a quiet, brown eyed man smiles at me.

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