Tuesday, February 05, 2008

here's a thing...

Like most brothers who are close in age, when we were young Flip and I occasionally punched each other. Okay, frequently. Mostly I suspect I bullied him a bit since I was older. I don’t mean that I was cruel, just that I tried to boss him around*. By the time he was 15 he was bigger than me, but happily for me, by then he had matured beyond the need for petty revenge.
*(When he was 3-4 yrs old and I was 5-6, we played cowboys. For myself, I chose the coolest, baddest name I could think of: “Shoot-Lion”; I made him be the side-kick “Johnny”.)

But anyway, this post is supposed to be about another thing that happened when I was about 8 yrs old, while we were awaiting the arrival of our little sister: I had a nightmare.

I dreamed that in order to make room for a new child in the family, there was a rule that one of the existing children had to die. For whatever reason (because I’m self-absorbed rather than self-sacrificing?), in my dream Flip was the one.

White-coated doctors led my 6-yr-old brother into a room and closed the door. After a while, they came out, carrying buckets containing a heart and lungs and things. That’s horrible enough in itself, but the worst part was the finality of it – it seemed to represent that my little brother was completely, irretrievably gone.

It’s been 35 years since that dream, but I still remember the crushing grief and pain – I was crying when I woke up.

And with waking of course came the realization that it wasn’t real. I was weak with relief and happiness. In a gesture entirely unlike our usual interaction, I padded over to my little brother’s bed and hugged and kissed him while he slept.

After that day, we never fought again. Unless, say, we were in each other’s presence...


At Tue Feb 05, 07:30:00 PM PST, Blogger jay are said...

Wow. What a horrible, terrible, awful dream!! And how graphic and detailed for such a young brain, genius though it might have been. I'M certainly glad it was a dream, I can tell you that! :) And how sweet of you to give him a lil hug and kiss...even if he wasn't aware. Save those for sleeping and the punches for awakeness lest he gets a big head and all.

At Tue Feb 05, 07:33:00 PM PST, Blogger si said...

oh, cute story! (have i ever commented this on your blog before?) well, at least the ending was cute. the dream itself was telling, i'd say -- you got it right about the self-absorbed thing... :-)

At Wed Feb 06, 08:36:00 AM PST, Blogger unca said...

Frightening but with a nice, sweet, happy ending.

At Wed Feb 06, 12:04:00 PM PST, Blogger anya said...

Ack! What an awful dream! Yeah, good ending.

At Fri Feb 08, 11:12:00 AM PST, Blogger blogball said...

I liked this story.
Thanks for posting it.

Maybe this is God’s way of making one appreciate his or her sibling without any real damage.


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