Becoming Free

Brothers-in-law reaching across a gulf of animosity to reconcile in understanding and connection.

Two men dear to me had a falling out. The politeness required by their social circumstances fell away and the prickly underlying judgment and irritation they triggered in each other were revealed. Because they are brothers-in-law, they are held in a circle of family and can't simply avoid each other. They want to come to greater peace and understanding. They would like to be friends. They acknowledge how difficult it is for American men to be vulnerable or intimate with each other. It is impossible, for instance, to hold hands.

Lifelong friends taking hands reflecting the truth of their brotherly love.

Two men dear to me love each other and are not hesitant to say so. They have been best buddies for fifty years, and even though they are differently tuned, one as solid as granite and the other more spacious like sky, their bond is deep. Holding hands might seem to be a natural expression of their brotherly love, but they squirm and can only joke about the possibility. Even when love is acknowledged, the taboo against intimate physical contact between two straight men prevails.

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