My Brother’s Life Journey Chapter 3

A woman from Tajikistan with a baby stroller i...

A woman from Tajikistan with a baby stroller in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Al and I were lucky for a few years while our Grandparents lived in the big white house. We had cousins who lived very near. Parents would take us trick or treating. Al would never wear a mask. He would scream bloody murder. I never knew what he remembered in his mind but something had made him deathly afraid of so many things.

Mom would dress him up with old clothes from home and would leave his head and face untouched and we would go out and trick or treat. Al didn’t want to go up to the doors so I would always get a couple of extra pieces and put some in his sack too.

I can remember Al and I used to sit for what seemed hours staring at the silver tinsel Christmas Tree. It had one of those moving lights under it and the tree changed colors. All the ornaments would sparkle and I can see Al still smiling so much with those big blue eyes.

When school started we went to the same school. But by the end of Kindergarten Mom and Dad knew that the school we attended could not help Al. He was switched in first grade to a school about three blocks from my school. I walked to school and a special bus came and picked up Al.

He went to the Special Education classes all through elementary grades. These years seem blank to me. He and I were separated for the first time. Different teachers and different programs. I do remember Al going with Mom and Dad to my school activities and me doing the same at Al’s school.

One thing that comes back in my memory is the big fan. In Grandma’s house my Granddaddy hung a big motor fan over  the screen door. I used to love to sleep on the couch in the summers and I was lulled to sleep by the noise of the fan. I still use a fan today and so does Al.

One night although it was a school night Al and I got to stay all night at our Grandparents. We were woke up early in the morning while it was still dark. Granddaddy told me that we had a new baby sister.

I don’t remember being thrilled over this. By now I was ten years old and it had always been Al and me. Now we had a sister. I knew that everyone was excited but Al and me. Of course he didn’t understand what that meant that we had another sister. He already had one, me. I felt a little bad inside because I wasn’t sharing in the excitement.

Changes happened then with our family. We moved a way from the happy block. We moved a few miles a way. I wasn’t able to see my Grandparents near as much, which made me sad. Al played more and more on the floor being very quiet and lining up all his hot wheel cars.

I turned to my baby dolls and pretended I was the mommy. I didn’t realize it then but somehow now reading back what I am writing I see that something bad had happened and I needed to be told I love you. I in turn told my baby dolls I loved them. I fed them and changed their diapers and clothes. I pushed them in the baby stroller. I couldn’t fit Al in the baby stroller so I pulled him in the wagon and continued letting him to ride on the back of the big red trike.

An old lady  started  watching our new baby sister, and eventually we slipped into that group also. Al became more into himself and I started to change too. I would cause problems. I would eat so much junk and then blame it on others. I went so far that I raced in from the garage when we got home and I would open drawers and flip over chairs and then when Mom saw it, I stood back and snickered as she questioned the neighborhood Moms about where had there kids been while we were gone.

I must have been really messed up over the baby sister. It seemed that this is when I began to look at Al as my brother and Dad as my hero and the baby sister as the unwanted.

Al and I were never really involved with the new sister. Al started doing worse at school and he started stuttering. Mom used to have to go into the school that he went to for meetings. She always yelled at Al on how she worked full-time and he needed to straighten up so she didn’t have to be a way from home so much.

I doubt that Al and I knew what really was happening back then , but I do know that Al and I stuck together more and more. It was us against the others. Al didn’t only start his stuttering. He had started getting something called impetigo. It would start on his lip and sometimes it would grow all over his chin.

I can remember Mom picking at the scabs and me yelling at her in my 10-year-old voice to quit hurting him. He was crying and I would run into the bathroom to see why he was crying. She made him cry. She was always picking at his face. I am sure she thought she was helping to get those ugly scabs off. But what about his tears? Didn’t it matter that he was crying? Please leave him alone Mom. Don’t make him cry.