Private Moment

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During the early 1990s, I visited my brother [1] quite a lot. At that time, I was getting reacquainted with him, learning about photography in order to capture moments with him, and learning more about the dynamics of how the other members of my family interacted. I would copy the day’s events in my journals for later use. The following narrative was written shortly after my brother’s birthday in 1992

November 1992

Went to class and took off in the afternoon to go to Mike’s party. I’m glad I did.

It was clear that Mom really didn’t want to be there. Her attempts at getting Mike’s attention were not successful and she seemed to take it as personal rejection. She told me as much.

Mom and Mike in living room, isolated from each other

Then outside, Mike went to take her hand and they walked together for a while.

Mike approaching Mom with outstretched hand

She talked to him as I do sometimes: a little bitterly and sarcastically [as if he wouldn’t understand anyway, and if he did, perhaps some of the honest frustration would come through]. I thought she said things like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you said ‘Arrivederci, Mommie’,” or something like that. [I thought this meant, “Just be honest with me Michael, and tell me you don’t want me around.”] She told me later that she told him that she loves him and that she thinks he may have understood somehow.

After all the years with him, she was still clearly disappointed


[1] My brother is autistic, low functioning and not verbal

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