I don't remember much of my childhood. Rather, I don't remember most of my childhood. I have entire years of my life that have no memories. When I was younger, I blamed that on the many moves (daddy is a Marine), many schools, and multiple head injuries. When I went through therapy, I thought it might be something else. Whichever, what I do have are a very few recurrent memories. There is one in particular that I haven't been able to shake, and lately it's really been bothering me.
I know it happened when we were living in Hawaii, so I was between 8 and 10, I'd guess 9. Why not. My mother had dropped me and my two older brothers off in a parking lot for some reason. Back then, people did that kind of stuff. (In the summer, we'd leave the house after breakfast and wouldn't come home until we were hurt or hungry.) I'm guessing she had to take my baby brother (by 6 years) to a pediatrician appointment - otherwise, I'd have been stuck taking care of him.
In any event, I was doing something to annoy my brothers. I have no idea what, probably just begging to play in their reindeer games, whining, and generally being the nuisance younger sisters can tend to be. My middle brother, K, who was 11 months and 2 weeks older than I was, finally had enough. Before I knew what was happening, he had me pinned down on the tarmac, kneeling on my chest, smacking my jaw as hard as he could with his knee. I thought my head was going to split open and all my teeth would fall out. I can remember feeling the pebbles digging into my back and the faintly tarry smell of the black top. I can also smell the beach, but this was Hawaii, and you could almost always smell the beach.
After he decided I had enough, he let me up, but not without first clocking me upside the head one more time for good measure. I sat behind the bus stop, my back against one of those metal barricades, and listened to K and my older brother, M (who was 11 months and 3 weeks older than K), talk shit about me. I think they were trying to make me cry. Just to fuck with their heads (and b/c I was twisted like that, even then), I started laughing maniacally. "What a freak!"
K and I have had a love-hate relationship all our lives. He was the golden boy, the parents' favorite, the one who could do no wrong, until suddenly, he was kicked out of the house at age 16 for some imagined offense. We finally became friends, given his (temporary) status as undeserving of my parents' love. I tried hard to maintain his friendship, but it was difficult, as he was constantly moving, shaking, making a deal. When I graduated college, he paid for his GED. When I graduated from grad school, he opened his first strip club. When I had the first grandbaby, he made his first million.
When the Wee MonkeyGurrl was born, he was practically a fixture in our lives. He was back in the parents' good graces. Then, inexplicably, he disappeared once again. I called, I left messages, I tried to contact him thru the younger brother, but I haven't heard from him in a good 4 or 5 years.
Why did he call me yesterday to invite me to Christmas dinner at his place? And why did he not return my calls for years, even though he and his wife and dog live an hour away?
I tell myself that I don't care, and on some levels I don't. But on some levels, I'm still the little gurl with the split lip, wondering what sort of a freak I must be to never have the love or respect of my brothers.
And you know? There's a song out now, that reminds me terriby of him. Here.
Of course, the video trivializes violence toward women in a predictable way, but the lyrics, particularly the chorus, resonates.
Just another reason to love the holidays.