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Family Ties

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Jeering, laughing, pointing. Paint splatters against the wall. Such interesting designs are being painted by the mere folly of out stretched hands of two young boys. Brothers in fact. Joined together by bonds stronger than steel itself, these were the two I spent my whole existence looking up to. When they went out, I begged to go along too. When they watched TV, I would sit amicably between them—at least until the fighting would start up again.

Such horrendous fights. At one point in time, I do believe we all wanted to be the victors coming out on top every time. It went in cycles, though. One day after school Francis lay in wait for a chance of taking me down, but the advantage this day was all mine. Hearing his loud footstep echoing throughout the hallway, now was my chance to finally win. Look to the left—now the right. Where is a safe place to hide? With a clean room there is no offer of a safe refuge to hide in. My only option? Attack him with all I have.

Pulling myself up, hand-over-hand. Finally I reach to top. Crouching down as to be less noticeable, the door squeaks just a bit as it is opened and a cautious head is poked inside. How could he not have seen me? There I was clear as day, yet somehow he had missed me and pushed the door open further. As Francis was a little over halfway into my sanctuary, I launched myself off of the dresser landing squarely on his back, knocking both of us on to the floor. Now was not the time for sympathy. I wanted to win at least one round against him. Punches fly and land over his back, shoulders and head. Screams tear themselves from his throat as Luke runs in to see what the ruckus was all about. Instead of the reprimanding I thought was sure to come, he tilts his head to the sky and laughs. He actually thought it was a hilarious spectacle to behold.

Sweet Luke. Always the reliable one, watching us while Mom went to work. Being the primary figure for so long, it was he who taught me how to ride a bike for the first time, then again as the training wheels were taken off. Two whole days it took of his constant patience—and yelling—to show me the way. He taught me on my favorite bike, and during the summer, the three of us were inseparable. Those two hanging out, and me following along trying to be a big kid just like them. This was how I first started to get into trouble, but it was only over minor things.

One day, as we were riding over to the pool, a decision was made to take a new route. Hair streaming behind, smiles alighting our faces. A perfect summer day. A rock in the road caused my front tire to catch and the entire bike rotated around the handle bars, throwing me on my stomach. More laughing floated across the courtyard. Temper rising and the brothers already around the next bend, I stormed over to where more little boys sat in the shadow of a tall majestic oak. Confronted and being screamed at by a six year old did nothing to better their humor, and in fact took it away all together. Anger painted itself across the boyish features of a kind still in the transition of growing up. Slap. Tears stung my eyes and the only thing my brain registered was that retaliation was inevitable. I flew at them with all that I had. A child possessed. Slap, slap, punch. Head reeling with pain by this point, my feet left the ground as I was picked up from behind. Vaguely registering that someone had grabbed my bike, I turned to realize it was Francis. My brothers had come back for me!

He held that one speed child's bike over his head as Luke screamed curses at those kids. Finally, as they tried to turn on my brothers, they realized their mistake. Francis let loose his hold, and the bike soared through the air. Hitting them in the chest, it knocked the wind out of them, and caused them to hit the ground hard. Extending his hand, Francis helped me onto the back of his bike then pedaled furiously away from the scene of such violence.

Grab hands. Jump. I in the middle, and my big brothers on either side. Cold water enveloped us as we hit the surface of the pool. Smiles, jokes, and laughter. This was the way our lives have always been, and will always be. Two strong titans who are the possessors of two full hearts.

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