My brother is about two and a half years older than I am. When we were younger, it was not so cool for my brother to have a younger sister. I did not tag along, so there were very few times past the age of ten that we did stuff together that was fun.
At the time of this story, we lived in a small town in northeastern PA. The playground was directly across the street from our house. It was rather small and intended for small children’s play. Big kids played over there though, taking over the basketball nets and sometimes dominating the entire playground.
For some forgotten reason, quite a few of us kids were playing football. It was guerilla-style, which meant there were few rules other than getting to your team’s fence on whichever side of the playground was yours. It was starting to get dark. Most of us should be getting home, or we’d be catching it from our folks. But the score was so close and most of us just wanted to cram in as much as we could before we went home. It was turning into autumn and so it was pretty cool, especially since we were all sweaty. So we kept moving, ignoring the lateness of the hour as best we could.
This was one of those few times my brother and I were playing, let alone around others! So, I was pretty happy. We weren’t on the same team,that was a bit much to ask for. But, I had the ball and was running hell-bent for my section of fence. I could hear some kids screaming and yelling behind me.
The harder I ran, the louder they screamed. I was almost afraid I was running toward the wrong goal. But I assured myself I was going good. But they kept yelling, so I whipped my head around fast to look behind me.
Outta the corner of my eye I saw my brother gaining on me. I knew that it was pretty much over, but I put a bit more burst into my race. As I turned back to face front, I collided with him and we both went ass over tin-can sprawling. I ate some dirt and had grass stains sliding down my chest, marking my thighs, and that was the extent of my ahem injuries.
My brother on the other hand had blood rushing down his rather white face. It was smeared on his fingers, too. He was warbling, “how bad is it?” I was apologizing hastily and we (his best friend and I) were pulling him up and under a streetlight. “Huh? How bad, huh?” His best friend was holding my brother’s hands away from his face, saying, “oh it’s not so bad”. Most of the other kids had already run off towards home.
By the time we got my brother under the light, all I could see was shiny dark purple river running down from the two inch gash under his eye. When I whipped my head around, I caught him, the corner of my glasses sliced open the taunt skin on his cheekbone, just under his eye. I looked at his best friend, and he looked at me, and we all knew the fun and games were over, because someone got hurt.
We took him across the street, to mom and dad. We started to get him all cleaned up. We were ribbing on him about how his little sister beat him up, without even trying. He was even starting to get some color back into his face.
That’s when my dad said to my mom, “think it needs stitches?” Yes, she thought it did. “Well,” dad says, thoughtfully, “you best get your needle and thread then. What color do you want?” he asked my brother. My brother paled and began to tremble.
Mom and dad assured him that they were just joking, mom was not about to sew him up. But she did take him to the hospital for stitches. And when people asked what happened, he told them he was playing football (but not with whom).
Later, after the stitches came out, a thin white scar could be seen. We tell him it adds to his roguish good looks. For a couple of years, he told the girls he got the scar in a fight.
Sigh, it’s all fun and games, til someone gets hurt.