A man shared his emotional reunion with the gay brother he never knew on Reddit. His story will make you angry and sad, but it’s ultimately one filled with hope.
Our friends at GayStarNews found the story, which starts with a Nintendo 64 (remember those?) and ends with a reunion that’s right out of a Nicholas Sparks flick:
He was in his room playing while a guy, almost his dad’s age, had come over to the house while his 16-year-old brother was babysitting him. There was a big age difference between the two brothers at the time, but John would always do as his older brother, who we’ll call Ryan, said, as Ryan would pull him around in a wagon and babysit him often.
While he was asleep, John woke up to his brother whispering outside the front door. ‘Don’t worry, he’s asleep’, he said. The older guy then said something he couldn’t hear, but John could make out the word ‘visit’.
‘The next morning–the day he disappeared–my parents were at work,’ John said. ‘My brother was acting very strange. I remember he kept checking the clock. In the afternoon, I remember him picking me up and asking me if I wanted to go in the wagon. I was too hooked on Nintendo 64 and said no. He almost begged me and I said no again.
‘Then he told me he had to run to our neighbor’s house for something, I don’t even remember what he said. I said okay. He reminded me to not open the door for anyone, only mom and dad. I shouted at him “OKAY!” because Super Mario was getting on my fucking nerves and he wasn’t helping.
‘He gave me a hug and told me he loved me and left. He never came back.’
Ryan was declared missing, making the news, as a ‘creepy unsolved mystery’.
Eventually, John learned that his parents had taken Ryan’s name off the missing persons list. It turns out they’d disowned him after he came out as gay and told them he was living with a man. John was livid:
‘I went ballistic. My parents weren’t fazed by it. They sincerely hate my brother for who he is–for being gay. They kept him a secret from me all my fu**ing life. My brother missed the birth of his nephew, he missed my wedding, graduations, EVERYTHING. Just because of my parents. They lied to me.’
John got his brother’s contact information and nervously dialed up the number:
‘The first thing I heard on the other end of the line was a guy laughing in the background. There was wind on the phone. The person on the other end was outside and it was windy. ‘Who is this?’
‘It was his voice. I knew that voice. It was my fucking brother. My brother! Who had been gone for my entire life! I covered my mouth with my shaking hands and just sat there. He kept asking me who it was. The guy in the background was trying to talk over him. He hung up on me. I called him back right away. He answered again.
‘Me being a creepy ass, the first thing I said after decades of not seeing him and thinking he was dead, I blurted: ‘I got your number.’
‘He asked me who I was and what I wanted. I said, ‘It’s me.’ There was a really long pause. I thought the call had dropped. Then I heard him tell someone to turn the radio down and roll the window up. The sound of wind stopped… and then he asked me my name. I told him and he said that I was lying. I told him I got his number from the missing children’s network and detectives. I heard him gasp. He asked me what color shoelaces he wore to a picnic when we were kids, and I remember my mom getting mad at his orange laces with blue shoes. It was the last time we were together as a family.
‘I could tell he was crying. The first thing he asked me was: ‘Where are you?’ and I told him I lived a few hours away from home. Without hesitating, he told me, ‘I’m coming.’
‘He went straight to the airport without any luggage, bought a plane ticket, and flew straight to me.’
Incredibly, the story has a happy ending for him and his estranged brother:
‘He’s married. His husband is a doctor—a pediatric oncologist. They live in the Pacific Northwest. They have two children—girls, 12 and 8. He works as a legal consultant and has his own firm. He has an amazing life. He told me that he thought I hated him and wanted nothing to do with him. We sat at the bar for hours. Literal hours. I think we sat for about six hours before I begged him to come home and meet my wife.’
It’s sad that homophobia nearly destroyed this family, but we’re happy the two brothers were able to reconnect.