I was always an easy target for my brother. He loved to make me cry. My mom would always ask me why I would let him rile me up like that. Why did I let him get to me? No matter what I did, he always found a way to get to me. He was unbeatable.
One time, he convinced me to play poker. I had no idea how to play poker. We had always just played go-fish or crazy eights. I didn’t know anything about gambling. He showed me his idea of poker. He card sharked me. He convinced me I was good at playing.
Once he was sure I had the game down, he then said we could start betting. At first, it was just pennies. Then, the pennies turned into nickels and dimes. Pretty soon, he had me betting and losing my life savings.
I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not even sure we were playing poker. It was just some card game he made up, but he took all my money. When I cried to my mom about it, she said we shouldn’t have been gambling and said he won the money fair and square. I don’t know about fair but that was the end of it.
He loved to make me cry and squeal. I loved my stuffed animals. He was upset with me because I was having a tea party with my stuffed animals and he wasn’t invited. I posted a note on my door, “No boys allowed!”
He promptly stormed in and abducted all my stuffed animals. He held them hostage in the bathroom for hours. He made noises that he was beating them up. I was unglued. I was in hysterics. He said he was breaking my rabbit bun-bun’s ears.
We were home by ourselves while my mom was at work. I was so upset I made an emergency call to work. If this wasn’t an emergency, I didn’t know what was. I was so upset, the operator at my mom’s job could barely get out what was wrong and quickly found my mom at the jail. When I told my mom what was happening, stuffed animals locked in the bathroom being abused and tortured, she came unglued.
She screamed at me that this was not an emergency. She yelled at me to put Tom on the phone. I yelled at Tom that mom was on the phone. He came to the phone but locked the stuffed animals in the bathroom and pocketed the key. He got an earful and was almost in tears. He hung up and gave me the key to the bathroom.
I freed my stuffed animals. Bun-bun’s ears had been broken. I wrapped them in an ace bandage. I just cried.
Always the victim.
His friends got in on the torture too.
I was in my room at night. I was listening to a record, minding my own business when ninjas burst through my bedroom window. Two ninjas, dressed in black, head to toe. They were rambling on about something. Then one of them side kicked me in the chest and they went scurrying out the window.
My chest was aching. I was frightened. I went running to my brother’s room. The door was locked. We never lock our doors.
He finally opened it.
He looked so calm. I was hysterical. I was crying.
I told him ninjas attacked me.
His friend Shawn and he just looked at me and smiled. Then I saw in the corner a mass of black clothes. They were the ninjas. I was pissed. I told him was going to tell mom. I never did.
This time, my friend and my brother gained up on me. We were watching TV and all of a sudden they sat on me and pinned me down. They started popping my toes and my fingers. I hate to pop my knuckles or toes. They just sat on me until it was all done. I just cried.
My brother would just go out of his way to get the tears rolling.
My mom’s friend Jeannie would always stick up for me and shove him off. She was watching up one time while my mom was out of town. Tom had been picking on me and I was upset. Jeannie said I should get back at him.
The idea of getting back at Tom had never occurred to me. He was just so much bigger than me and stronger. It seemed forbidden.
She had an arsenal of ideas.
I went with something simple.
Tom and his friend Shawn were sleeping in the living room. Jeannie and I painted their toenails and fingernails hot pink while they slept. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Jeannie just said to wait and see.
I woke up to hear, “Oh, my God! It won’t come off!”
“Dude. It’s on your feet, too”
“Hey, why are my toes pink?”
“How do you get this shit off?”
I came out of my room smiling.
Tom was frantic. We were going to Wet-N-Wild water park in a few hours and he could not be seen with pink nails.
“How do you get this off?” Tom asked me.
“You don’t. It just has to wear off with time,” I replied with a grin.
He started to cry.
Shawn started to laugh.
“You can’t do this to me. There are going to be girls at the park. They can’t see this. There’s got to be a way,” he pleaded.
Jeannie came out of the bedroom.
“If you promise to be nice to your sister, I’ll give you a solution,” she said.
Tom swore on his life.
Jeannie gave him the nail polish remover. My life was very peaceful for a while until it wasn’t. Tom went back to his usual bullying techniques. Shawn, however, never forgot and always made a joke about the nails.
A couple years go by and Tom being Tom was rude to me yet again. This time I had had enough.
We shared a phone line. I was already sleeping. I was getting important sleep. The next day, I was doing a marathon walk for cancer or something. I needed to get up early and do the walk. I went to bed early, being responsible. Tom came in late and woke me up.
He didn’t just come in and gently shake me and say, “Hey sister, do I have any messages?”
No. He kicked my bed until I woke up and said, “Finally, Hey dummy. Did I get any messages?”
Ugh! I was so pissed. It was close to midnight or after midnight. I yelled at him to get out of my room.
After that, I couldn’t go back to bed.
I tossed and turned.
All I could think about was what an asshole he was.
Then it dawned on me. He was an asshole. He deserved to be punished.
My brother was quite the prima donna. He was all about his hair. It was everything. Good product. Only the best.
I went into the bathroom and dumped half of the hairspray down the drain. I promptly filled the rest of the bottle of hairspray with peroxide. I put his hairspray back on the counter.
I went back to bed and tried to get some rest.
This was a long con.
For weeks, my brother used that hairspray. Slowly his hair started to turn from black to copper.
He was working at a car wash place and thought it was changing color from working in the sun. I just let him think that.
He used half that bottle of hairspray.
At some point, I felt guilty. Maybe it was when his hair was orange. I confessed. I told him what I had done.
His jaw dropped open and closed. He was speechless. Then, he was chasing me and I ran. He was going to beat my ass. I ran for my life. I ran to my room and locked myself in my room until my mom came home.
He told on me. My parents laughed. I can’t remember if I got in trouble. I don’t think I did. He told his friends, which was a mistake because they thought that was the best prank ever pulled.
I never tried to pull anything on my brother again, and he was never really mean to me again.
That was the end of everything. Our relationship changed.
A few years after that, I was wearing this raggedy, old, faded, black, zipped up hoodie. It was my winter jacket. Tom was in shock that was what I was wearing to school. He said, “No sister of mine is wearing that shit. Get in the car. We’re going shopping.”
We went to the mall. We went to the department store. I ended up buying the same jacket he had. A black leather bomber jacket. It was $200. He had the money and just bought it for me.
That was how things went from then on. He took care of me.
He went from torturing me to taking care of me. From being my nemesis to being my best friend. I still have that jacket. I can’t wear it because I think of him, but I take it out and hold it. It’s like getting a hug from my brother.