I had two younger brothers. The older of the two never seemed to like the idea that he wasn’t the oldest in the family. I hated being the oldest. I had to change his diapers, give him his bottle, wash his clothes, make his bed, give him his bath, cook his food and clean up after him. This continued until I was midway through high school when a visiting friend of my parents said, if I lived and ate there, I should work there. I countered with, if I don’t eat, I won’t need to cook? She agreed and my mother had to agree also. I stopt eating supper. My school bus came earliest, so I was up first, cooked my own breakfast and cleaned up, then I ate lunch at school. I began fainting every morning when I woke up, but that was a minor price to pay for the benefit of no longer having to cook or wash dishes.

I’m sure my brother didn’t want to do any of that work, and he seldom saw me do it, so the work didn’t exist. My only “privilege” was being able to sit in the front seat of the car so I’d have some place to put my long legs. He particularly resented that.

I don’t know when, or who, started it, but he and I would wrestle each other. For some reason, this was an activity our mother allowed, but of course, I had to have my work done first. Many times that was after he had had to go to bed. Was this another point of resentment? That I got to stay up later? I would have gladly gone to bed instead of work!

Anyway, when I had time and energy, some evenings I would ask if he wanted to wrestle.

He always said, yes.

Soon, we’d be rolling on the living room floor; it was the only space available. He was always eager to try to pin me down. My larger size, and weight, never deterred him.

I could tell, though, over the years that his muscles where getting stronger and stronger as he was getting bigger himself. We would roll around for a while, until I got tired, then I would pin him and end that session. Then we would go to bed.

Finally, one time, I recognized that he was getting nearly as strong as myself. I knew it was time to end the wrestling and I never offered again. I could not afford to let him win.

We’ve never talked about this.

One thought on “Was it a Fight? Yes and No by Duane L Herrmann

  1. Very touching piece, Duane, in a humorous sort of way. It was like an undercurrent of true emotion beneath the surface of fun and playfulness.

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