I am not an easy person to live with. I am temperamental, judgmental, lazy, and obsessive. But that’s nothing compared to the way I behaved from the ages of eight to around twenty-five. I was a miserable bastard, and I treated a lot of people like shit, including my younger sister.
It’s no wonder that she later resorted to some of the dirtiest fighting tactics imaginable. Hair pulling, biting, and savage beatings that would trounce Ronda Rousey were a standard part of my day. I clearly remember the night she pounded me with both fists to the beat of an upbeat Christmas song. Good times.
The abuse started early – before she could even talk, in fact! I was probably six years old, and she was a mere toddler, when I impulsively scribbled on the wall with a crayon. My father walked into the room, and I immediately and intentionally threw her under the bus, pointing at the scribble I had JUST finished drawing, and shouting, “SHE DID THAT!” My father gave her a swift, light slap on the ass, and she cried. I felt guilty for years about that. Neither of them remember this having happened, and in retrospect, my father is not a fucking moron and would probably have not spanked my infant sister because of my ravings. Maybe I dreamed it.
She had a large toy box in her room filled with stuffed animals – god, she had so many stuff animals! One day, when she was probably about five or six, we were playing in her room. I had a thing for eating Play-Doh in those days (yeah, I was that kid; I ate Elmer’s Glue, too), and she said I was gross. I told her it tasted good, and suggested she try some. When she refused, I flipped open the toy box, pulled the animals out, crammed her into the coffin-like box, forced some Play-Doh into her mouth. Then I closed the lid and sat on it. Have you ever seen a cat get caught in something, or be closed in a room, and begin to frantically try to claw their way out? That’s what it was like.
Speaking of stuffed animals, those were a constant source of cruel entertainment for my friends and I. On more than one occasion, my friend Matt and I would make use of the hour gap between when I we got out of school and she did to go into her room and turn every single doll backwards, pulling down their pants as applicable, so that her entire plushy entourage was mooning her when she got home. The piece de resistance, however, was the time we decided to lynch one of her favorite stuff animals by tying the pull chain from her ceiling fan around its neck like a noose, and leaving it dangling. The beating was severe, and I probably still have bite marks from it.
But her stuffed animals weren’t the only victims of my toy psychotic toy abuse (hey, at least I wasn’t killing gophers with a Weed Whacker like that one kid I went to school with). Among other things, I dropped bricks on her Barbie Dolls from a second story balcony (that could have easily turned into a tragedy, but it didn’t thankfully), and I also caved in her My Buddy doll with a hammer. In my defense, (A) she gave me permission, because we both hated that fucking thing, and (B) this was a toy that literally had a major role in the creation of a series of horror films. My mom was furious, though.
I would often lie in wait for her when she came home from school. She would round a corner, and I would leap out at her and tackle her to the ground. And then she’d bite me and I’d run away. In a way, I think I prepared her for the harsh realities of life, because she learned to fight viciously. I defy anyone to catcall her or try to creep on them; she would utterly destroy them.
To my father’s constant frustration, our playing – which often involved wrestling – would inevitably devolve into vicious combat; this went on well into our teens, and it had gotten to the point where if we were goofing around when he got home from work, he’d step away from cooking dinner to forbid us from continuing, because it always, always ended in tears and bloodshed. So much bloodshed.
Once in awhile, other stressors in her life had turned her into a ticking time bomb, and she was just not having it. She became brutal to the point of possibly hospitalizing me, and while I was fine with wrestling, I never actively punched her or bit her or any of the crazy stuff she would do to me. I’d mostly just try to get away from her; I didn’t want to hit a girl, even a girl who would snap my spine like a pretzel.
On one such occasion, she simply could not be calmed down. I tried to get away from her, but she was unrelenting. So I pinned her to the kitchen floor and waited for my dad to get home. That was a bad day for both of us.
It wasn’t all bad, though. I had my moments, and I tried to help her out, to be a good brother. Didn’t always work out the way I’d planned, though.
My mom tells me of a day when she was still very young, and was crying, so I very helpfully wrapped my arms under her shoulders and chin, and carried her to my mother. She stopped crying, though, mostly because I was obstructing her windpipe. I meant well, though.
I remember a time, when we were both pre-teens, when she was afraid to do something or another. I had recently watched Dumbo, and got the bright idea to use the “Magic Feather” ploy to give her confidence. But I had no feather, and she had no trunk, and whatever it was, it required some physical act (like jumping or climbing or something), so I held up a wooden block, and said, “This is a magic block! If you carry it in your pocket, it will magically make you able to [do whatever it was]!” She was young enough to buy into this wholesale, but she didn’t have pockets, so I instructed her to drop them into her pants. Yeah.
Another time, she was frightened of a thunderstorm, so I tried – in my creativity – to weave a narrative around it, to make her less frightened. My idea?
I TOLD HER THAT THERE WAS A GIGANTIC TOUR GUIDE AND THE LIGHTENING WAS HIS FLASHLIGHT, AND THE THUNDER WAS HIS VOICE!
I don’t mean to paint a picture of an abusive, dysfunctional relationship, but if the shoe fits… well, you know the rest. But despite all that, my sister is one of my best friends, and I love her dearly. Even if I was an awful shit to grow up with.