By Andrew Danielsen
When I was growing up, my brother Matthew and I were raised in the same house by our grandparents in Chico, CA. Matthew is two years older than I am which is a big age difference in youth, but we still got along very well. From the time that we were young until our mid-teens we did everything together as close brothers should; but the morning that I woke up to Matthew standing over me wearing our grandmothers pantyhose over his face holding a knife, telling me that it was time to take the alien out of my stomach, things became a little rough. But like in many kinds of relationships, anything can happen between two members in a family, and it can affect the lives of both forever in a negative way.
Matthew and I had a close friendship in and outside of the house. We would walk to school together every day, and being the good boy big brother that he was, he would make sure that I was safe at all times, hold my hand when crossing the street, and always walk me to my class room. We would spend our recesses and our lunch time together, and update each other on how our days were going, as well as give one another encouragement when needed.
Over the next few years, my brother began to tell me about a little voice that would whisper to him at night and tell him to do every day normal things such as use the rest room, wash his hands, eat, and drink. He explained to me that if he did any of these things without the Whisper’s say so, he would grow a third arm in the middle of his back that would constantly spank him throughout the day. He did not want this to happen so he abided by the Whisper’s rules.
While all of this was going on, our friendship began to get a little complicated. I had told our grandparents about this new “friend” of my brothers, but they quickly shooed me away with my fantasyland stories, ignoring what I was trying to say, and told me to play with a stick. I felt very alone, and completely misunderstood.
Matthew and I would still walk to school every day and would continue to have our recess times and lunch together, but it was not like it was before. We would talk less, we wouldn’t make as much eye contact, and every once in a while he would have to excuse himself and go talk to his “friend.”
This all began to get very strange to me, and I wondered if there was anything that I could do. I ended up going to speak with the school’s counselor and see if he would listen to me and give me advice since my grandparents would not. The counselor told me that what I needed to do was either separate myself from my brother, or try to make friends with the Whisper as well. He told me that if I was able to identify with what my brother was going through, I might be able to repair a lost connection that he had with reality. I knew that the last thing I wanted to do was to make friends with an imaginary voice that was beginning to destroy the relationship that I had with my brother, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I couldn’t separate from my brother no matter what so I figured it was time to face the Whisper myself. Every night before the two of us went to sleep, we would eat some cookies and enjoy a glass of milk. At this time, neither my brother nor I had ever experienced with alcohol, but I knew that it was a type of medicine that helped our grandmother sleep at night. Therefore I decided to take some of our grandmother’s tequila and mix it in to my brother’s glass of nightly milk.
I figured that after the medicine put my brother to sleep, I could tie him up in his bed and prove to him that the voice he’d been hearing over the last few years was only in his head and he was able to make decisions on his own. If I was ever going to have a relationship with my brother like I did in the past, I knew that this was the only way to show him.
We enjoyed our nightly snack and he never mentioned the funny taste of the milk. When we were half way ready for bed, my brother collapsed onto the floor in his temporary coma, and I knew this was my only time to tie him up, so I did just that. I used our grandfather’s argyle socks to tie his wrists and his ankles to his bed posts and waited.
An hour and a half after tying him to the bed, he woke up in a fury. He easily escaped from the ties and stormed down the stairs screaming and proclaiming that the Whisper was angry. This saddened me, and I worried for my brother’s well-being. He stormed out of the house and sprinted down the street, not to be seen for the rest of the night.
The next morning was when I woke up to my brother standing above me with the knife. I quickly kicked him in the knee and made him lose his balance. He fell off of the bed and I was able to escape to tell my grandparents what was going on, and finally they listened to me. The police came to the house, arrested my brother and took him in for evaluation.
The relationship between my brother and me was greatly affected by a rare case of schizophrenia. After the pantyhose and knife incident, I seldom saw him. He was taken to an insane asylum and he still remains there today. I will never forget the great times that we had during our youth. We were such great friends and it was all diminished by a sad disease.
If there is anything that I’ve learned from all of this experience, it’s that I will always love and appreciate my brother no matter what. But hey, I must obey the Whisper, right?