Memories. So wonderful at times. So awful at others. This is a wonderful/awful one. I was twelve, that magic age between childhood and teenager. I was young enough to love playing and running and jumping, but old enough to pretend I was beautiful and sought-after.
I got my very first bicycle that year, and I was oh! so proud of it. I’d pat the seat every night before going to bed, and say good night to it. I was also very selfish, and wouldn’t let my younger brother ride it. Not only that, but I often flaunted my possession of this treasure in front of his bikeless self.
One day he’d had enough. I mean, a kid can only take flaunting, selfish sisters for just so long. As I rode my sleek, beautiful blue bike past him, nose in the air, he picked up a handful of grass and threw it at me. He would’ve probably thrown a stick had one been available, but grass had to suffice.
That just made me mad. I got off the bike and laid it carefully on its side in the grass. Then I went over and shoved him. He shoved back. I shoved again. He hit me. I hit him. We began to flail our arms in each other’s faces, slapping and crying. He ran to the side of the house and got the garden hose. Too early for a bath, but I got one! Then I REALLY got mad. I couldn’t reach him because of the water in my face, so I turned my back to the onrush of water and backed up towards him until I could grab him. He let go of the water hose, and grabbed hold of me.
I think he was mad.
He got my head in an armlock and lifted me off the ground with his fist. Bam! Pow! Smash! Yowllllllllll!!!!
He got in big trouble for hitting his sister. I got lots of sympathy and felt pretty big – until they got to the bottom of the whole fracas. Then I felt ashamed and very, very small.
We never had another fight after that. Years later, my brother told me that he’d never felt worse in his life than he did that day, after losing his cool and lighting into me like that. I reminded him that I started the whole thing by being so selfish. He said, “Yes, but I had no right to hit my sister like that. I felt so ashamed that I vowed never to hit a girl again.”
You know, he kept that vow, made when he was only ten years old. I never knew about it, nor about how he felt that day, until we were in our fifties. Funny the things a person remembers from childhood. My brother and I are very good friends now, and I’m so thankful to have him. And hopefully I learned something from that. Selfishness is rotten, and if indulged in for too long, it can make a person rotten from the inside out. And it could make your brother sock you in the face.