What do you say to someone who has broken your mother's heart?
Knowing, full well, that he is your youngest brother, the baby of the family, whose blood runs in your own veins? Knowing that you cannot kill him, nor can you live with him? Knowing that he has the stupidity of a 17-year-old, and the ego of a 40-year old?
How do you hold your father back from hurting him, when your first impulse is to harm him yourself?
And he is so confident.
And he is so young.
And a little knowledge is far, far, far more dangerous in his hands than ignorance ever was. His first subject in Psychology, his first semester in his course, and he calls himself a shrink.
He stays out the whole night. The whole night, in the big dark city he hasn't been in for more than a year. On a school night. Playing soccer.
The next day your mother rushes into your room, sobbing to call the police, because he hasn't gone home.
His friends said he left them at 9 the previous night.
And the police scratch their chins and shake their heads in sympathy. But their eyes are knowing.
You walk downstairs to see a frightening expression on your father's face; one you've never seen there before and hope to never see again. Fury and fear and grief for what might be.
Your lungs have stopped working.
You start praying, that everything will be okay, that everything will be normal again. That time would go back one day.
That your brother is okay.
And he waltzes in, and sits at the breakfast table, smugly, coolly, arrogantly.
And says, "I wanted this to be an eye-opener. You don't pay me enough attention. You don't give me enough money. You don't allow me out often enough. You're a bad mother. You're a bad father."
How do you stop yourself? How? You ask yourself while your mother weeps quietly, too much love in her to fight him, to defend herself. Your father walks out, trying not to get violent.
And slowly your brother eats breakfast, an arrogant smug grin on his face.