I got the fallout, like how a movie theater floor receives lost popcorn. Every chance you had; a kick to the thigh, slap to the head; kid shit. Brother shit. At the corner store I’d want a pack of Bubble Yum and you’d want a Marathon Bar. Dad would never give you more money than what was needed and even though you had the newspaper job and a real wallet for the money you made, somehow wanting some fucking Bubble Yum turned into an ordeal made easier for you by our unfair sizes. You’d twist the rectangle out of my hand; your hand a mutton chop choking my wrist.
At night I’d pray for God to make me catch up to you quick. The stories I’d swim in my head as I suffered through your snoring were of me bigger than you, twisting your wrists and making you put back your Marathon Bars.
At six, I didn’t really know who the real enemy was. But if I did, the stories would’ve been different - the prayers too. The adult me chokes on the I’m sorry’s I still haven’t said. But what do six year old boys know when all they can’t see past is the torment of an older brother; a shield.
The day we buried dad we were wearing black. The shoes hurt my feet but I didn’t say anything. Nobody was saying anything. You made me keep my hair fixed nice while yours hung long over your eyes. Dad would’ve been mad and called you a ‘little faggot’ again but you still wouldn’t have cut it, even if it might’ve made a difference, which it wouldn’t have. Even if you might’ve cared, but you didn’t.
After all the praying and talking were finished, people lined up to put a flower on the casket. We were last because I guess sons’ flowers should be on top, like it meant something. You lobbed your flower lazy and then tossed a handful of pocket change like you were feeding a beggar’s palm. The flowers scattered like scared ducks with the weight of the metal. A few fell to the ground and I wanted to cry right then, but I didn’t because I knew if dad were watching he’d call me a faggot too. Instead, I bent down to pick them up, adding to the one clenched tight in my fist. I saw your shoe kick the grass and then walk away.