family. brothers. abuse. bullying. help.
How many times can I be shoved before the mud stings my throat? That’s how it has been since middle school but I’m twenty-eight now and still feel most comfortable in the gutter. My mouth bleeding. My brother’s fist has done most of the damage because for once I had something to say and he did not like my raised voice. Such abrupt switch in his handling of the situation.
“I’ll talk about my wife the way I like it.” It began with that sentence and he was on his feet within seconds.
“All I’m saying, she might not appreciate your sentiments of calling her a cunt and then go on elaborating on her c…” But I cannot bring myself to finish the word for the second time. My argument wasn’t even about Suzanna but Jeff’s anarchical bullying that took most of my life… and my brother wasn’t the only one guilty of it. Everyone at some point has thrown a slur at me from time to time. Queer and fairy were most commonly utilized even in front of my girlfriend as if I wasn’t a man of worth to date such beautiful treasure as Seneca. My brother would flirt with her without shame any chance he got to a point that she stopped attending these family gatherings. It makes me feel uncomfortable. She said finally and since then hasn’t set her foot at my brother’s palace of mediocrity.
I didn’t shove him. Never had an intention to, even when he shoved his face in front of mine. Like a cock prancing his wings, asserting his aggression… and he snatched my collar pushing me to the wall.
“What you’re gonna do, little brother? Lift your…” and before he gets a chance finishing his sentence, I jab him, right between his eyes. Probably not the smartest move but the motion was set and I couldn’t run from it.
I got my beating but I’m proud to say, I held my own, at least the first few minutes before our father stepped in, pulling Jeff’s fat body away from me. “Act like grownups,” he said. “Your children are watching.”
For the first time, our father has surprised me. As children, he would torment us and encourage rough playing. Now, it seems he has moved on from such ways and for once acted as a father should. Set better examples because as adults it’s not fun anymore to have your teeth knocked out, to have your nose broken, to make someone eat dirt, to use your anger as an excuse for bullying and fighting. Maybe it all changed the day my brother threw me across the kitchen breaking my arm simply because I looked at him as he was talking.
How do you grow out of being a bully? And my brother has a short fuse, that was evident. Even my father had his limits. There was a difference between making someone tough and creating a monster. I think my brother didn’t get the difference… and Suzanna, she left after few too many black eyes. She packed and left. A simple note on the side table. All it said was, Goodbye.
The phone call this morning as my brother’s harsh tone came across with vulgarity and anger. My father was informed next and here we sat to form intervention and for a moment I thought Jeff would crack but his anger only simmered. But after my father pulled him to the side, there was this moment of clarity as if the program inside my brother’s head finally reset. And he threw the flimsy plastic chair towards the fence, paused, then calmly asked, “What do you want me to do?”
© Jacob Greb — 2020
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