Today’s watercolor experiment:
The final portrait in the trilogy of my older brother is a rendering of his most notable features from the last time I saw him in his geriatric group home. Mike is autistic, severely low functioning and has never spoken. I have felt every emotion possible in my years trying to interact with him. Many people tell me, “Of course Mike knows who you are.” But there comes a time when, without evidence to back it up, one just has to believe “it just ain’t so.” There is always the idea that ‘somewhere on the spiritual plane’ (or for those of us lacking in spirituality ‘somewhere in the realm of esoteric physics’), I have an older brother who loves and is attentive to me. Maybe I’ll believe that some day.
I have mixed feelings about Mike, but they all begin and end with me. Sometimes I am nostalgic for the times when I used to pat him on the chest or talk to him as if he could understand me; sometimes I am frustrated and sad about not having tried harder even with the knowledge that I couldn’t have done anything more that I did.
So here is Mike as an adult in a geriatric facility, with his enlarged lower lip, an eye that can’t see and another that seems to look at me. I just wish the presence behind it was just a little bit less alien.
I have one more portrait of Mike in me before I need to latch on to another subject for a while.