It's different being around him. He's the figure of the house, the breadwinner. He's the man. I can't force myself to see him like that. He's goofy and weird and super loud.

He talks a lot. Tries to make every word coming out of his mouth interesting; he wants his stories to be significant. He's not a storyteller. He embellishes some details and leaves out the important ones. He really wants to be a storyteller, even if he's not meant for it. He gets too excited. Most audiences would be just as excited, but you can tell he wants it to sound that way. It's not natural. It sounds so weird coming out of his mouth. His gestures are weird. Not even just talking with his hands, every move he does it weird.

I hate being around him. He likes to touch things; he likes texture. I don't understand. His fingers are so calloused. He said this once to my brother's lover,

"I like to touch things. I love to feel things."

She didn't stay around very long.

He likes hugs and affection, even the kind that isn't necessary. These things aren't returned. He takes and takes and takes. He's selfish. You can't be angry with him. He makes you feel bad for it.

"Don't give me grief."

I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.

But he likes to buy me gifts. They're not really gifts. They're things. Things he wants to see me with. Not always in my interest (if ever at all). He'll get the things he wants or nothing at all. My six-year-old self has experienced the worst of it. Hideously patterned shirts and hair neatly styled.

I was six, I wasn't allowed to have those kinds of choices. I hate that. I hate him for it. He's really bad at getting gifts for people he cares about.

He hates Christmas. He tells me why, but that's not why. It's phony. Christmas is phony. We don't celebrate Jesus and his birth to the world (though seasonally inaccurate). We celebrate family; other people celebrate Ol' Saint Nick. We gather together as a family, and he still doesn't join us. He hates Christmas. He doesn't spend time with us. He refuses to buy gifts around the time of year. It's meaningless to him. The holiday is meaningless.

The bond is meaningless.

He always hugs me. I don't like that. He comes in for a giant bear-hug, expecting I'll react well. I don't and he hugs me tighter.

I think he gets lonely. He likes to be around people. He panics if he isn't. Sometimes I can see the energy radiating off of him when he meets new people. It's weird. He's dependent on people. He really can't be alone.

He gets angry. He likes to pick fights. He tries to win those fights. His voice is powerful. Not influentially, just big and loud. He likes to repeat himself, louder with each word, until his opponent quiets. He thinks he wins there, like his point was somehow made. He was the biggest; he had all the power.

I hate him as much as I hate her. Maybe more.