This one was rejected by The Forge; also reposted from my other blog.
So we had this fight when we were kids, right, I remember it like it was yesterday, it wasn’t one of our usual fights, just playfights, just nothing, no, it was a proper fucking brawl, proper knock-down, drag-out, but not really a fight when you think about it because there was no way I could stop you, I was never any match, you were always going to get the best of me. I was twelve and you were sixteen, it was just after your birthday, and you were always much bigger than me anyway, and you had me on the ground, and you were holding my arms down with one hand and you were pulling out big hanks of my hair with the other, and fuck you for that, by the way, I looked like a fucking scarecrow for weeks, and I still have a patch that never grew back.
I don’t know what set you off to this day, you just jumped on me, started punching me, no reason at all that I could see, but that didn’t matter, or maybe it did, I don’t know, maybe there was a reason, but anyway, you just kept screaming and crying, you stupid kid, you stupid kid, fight back, you stupid fucking kid, like you were possessed, like you were fucking crazy or something. I kept trying to ask you what the fuck was going on, what the fuck you were doing, stop, stop, stop, please fucking stop, but you couldn’t hear me or you didn’t want to, just kept hitting and hitting and yanking and yanking on my hair, and you didn’t stop until one of the other lads pulled you off, until I was all bloody and half-bald, and then you were just shaking and silent and you never said sorry, but I think you were.
That was the last day I saw you, they took you away after that, care or something, uncontrollable temper or something, or maybe they stuck you in the young offenders, I never knew, they wouldn’t tell me where they took you, and no one ever talked about it after that, not Ma, not anyone, and as much as I hated you for what you did, I hated them more, they were the ones who really fucked everything up, they didn’t understand, it wasn’t supposed to be like that, we were supposed to stick together. Before that day, it was good, we had a laugh, we chased the lasses from the estate, and when it was nice, we went down the river and chucked stones, we never could get the hang of skipping them, and we nicked fags from Ma and magazines from the offie, never the really nasty stuff, just the Playboys, and you looked out for me, you protected me, took care of me, you were my brother and I needed you.
I know it wasn’t the first time, there were other lads, sometimes small like me, sometimes much bigger than you and you’d come off the worst of it, and probably more that I didn’t know about, but I always knew it was just you standing up for yourself, just you being you, and you had mates, or at least respect anyway, and a gang to hang around with, and I knew you’d be ok, I knew we’d both get on all right in the end. You were supposed to go ahead of me, show me how to do it, tell me what it was like in the big wide world, tell me about girls and sex and stuff, teach me how to be a man, but after they took you, there was no one, no one to look after me, no one at all, and fuck you for that, too, because how the fuck was I going to stand up for myself without you teaching me how.
I know what you’re thinking, Ma was still there, I still had her and she had me, but she had her own stuff to deal with, she had too much to do, she didn’t have time to worry about me, not really, just enough to make sure I didn’t do anything properly stupid, like kick someone’s head in, like something you might have done, and she couldn’t teach me anything anyway, what the fuck did she even know. It’s so stupid, I started missing Dad then, like, for the first time ever, and you know what’s really stupid about that, I never even met him, but you did, and you always told me he was a top bloke, just like this really great guy, but he was too cool for us, too cool to hang around and he’d gone off to fly fighter jets or be a kung fu master or something like that, and I even asked Ma about it, but she just laughed and said don’t be so daft, your dad, flying fighter jets, what are you like, and fuck you for that, too, fuck you for lying and fuck you for never owning up.
You didn’t come back after she died, I don’t even know if they told you, or if you cared if they did, but you didn’t come to the funeral and that’s when I decided to try and find you, tell you what a fucking twat you were, I was bigger by then, I could have given you a taste of your own medicine, could have knocked some fucking sense into you, but I never did, I couldn’t, it was too late. They told me what happened, dressing gown cord around the neck, tied it to a railing and jumped over, just like that, no dressing it up, no sugar coating, and I should have realised, I should have seen it, I should have asked you, probably every day was a fight for you, probably you never really were happy, even when it was good, when you had me, and I am sorry for that at least.
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