Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Brother Series: Jarrod

Jarrod is three years older than me and is one-half of a set of very fraternal twins. He and the other one, Jason, couldn't be less alike in appearance, personality, and temperament. Jarrod was pretty sweet and patient with me, and as a kid I considered him my best friend. I also wanted to marry  him. He was very tolerant of my adoration and let me tag along to the mall, football games and to movies with him. I was a very weird kid with a dark sense of humor that I didn't really know how to channel. Jarrod did his best to play along, and in general mirrored my goofball antics.

A lot of our time was spent laughing until we got into trouble.

I'm the shirtless one. Not much has changed there.
Dumb things were funny to us. Like pulling the strings of our hoodies so tightly around our faces that only our scrunched noses were showing, and then pushing these noses against the windows of the backseat to 'scare' passing drivers. Granted, we couldn't see their reactions, what with our eyes being covered in cheap fleecy cotton and polyester, but our imaginations told us that our plan was a success. Which made us laugh uncontrollably until we got shushed, shushed again, growled at, and then threatened with a menacing bark from the driver's seat.

Once our mom took us to Ponderosa for some buffet-style steak and mashed potatoes. We'd started laughing in the car about something, and just...didn't stop. We laughed in line. We laughed at the table. We laughed when the people next to us laughed. We laughed when mom's patient smile waned. We laughed when she forced us to leave the restaurant before our steaks had arrived. We laughed all the way home. How I didn't pee my pants that day, I'll never know.

Things went south for Jarrod and I when I was a sophomore in high school. My boyfriend Scott and I had been dating since just before my freshman year, and we felt bad that Jarrod was alone and didn't have a love like ours - eternal and true. Scott had a friend from school that we decided would work. We set it up. Then all hell broke loose.

Jarrod fell in love with that girl, and vice versa. Which was great and all, but she was - and is - a Mormon. Jarrod took to that religion like a duck to water, and he never looked back. His once carefree, accepting personality began judging people - like me. And the gays. We started having heated debates. I felt angry and depressed and like I had lost him forever. He had always been the one brother that would stand up for me when the others decided to gang up on me all at the same time, which was often. And now I was on my own. Sure, I was old enough to fight my own battles at that point, but still.

Jarrod and his wife tried to make it up to me by introducing me to a guy from their church. He was cute so I dated him the summer after my graduation, which was kind of fun at the time. All I really remember is that we played a lot of volleyball and chewed a lot of gum. I know they had high hopes that I'd fall in love and convert in order to be with this nice sweet upstanding Mormon boy. But their plan backfired when he constantly tried to get into my pants. When my morals are stronger than a freaking MORMON'S morals, you know something is wrong. He even took a sip of my coffee once! Blasphemer! (You can see that I have no roots in religion - I'm pretty sure I used that word incorrectly. Don't care.)

Today Jarrod has a beautiful, sweet, fun-loving family which includes 7 kids. They all show obvious adoration and respect for each other, meanwhile my sister-in-law and Jarrod are still completely smitten with one another. So, I guess that says something. It says Scott and I TOTALLY ROCK at setting people up!!

Over the years Jarrod and I have made our peace and have learned to understand one another a little bit again. At the very least, it's comforting to know he genuinely feels bad that I won't be joining him and his brethren on the Mormon Planet after I die because I'm a sinning non-believer. It's reassuring to know he'll miss me, and he in this life he loves me no matter how much I screw up. I love that goofy Mormon guy.

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