I have two younger brothers, as I’ve mentioned before; Will* is about 5 years younger than me, and Michael* is two years younger than him. We’re all great friends, but as children that brotherly love was often expressed in ways that might make some people’s eyebrows raise – well, people who were only children, anyway. Anyone with siblings knows the deal; your brothers and sisters are there to pester, harass, annoy, and sometimes outright torture you.
I was recently reminded of a story from our childhood. William, at the time somewhere around 5 years of age, had been frightened by the Abominable Snowman on the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. The idea of that hairy beast breaking through the walls, red eyes glowing, was giving him nightmares. He and Michael shared a room at the time, and our mother had gone in after they’d gone to bed to comfort him and help him get to sleep. The lights in the bedroom were out, but there was a small amount of light streaming in through the open doorway.
No one noticed my shadow as it crossed the door. I ducked down outside the threshold, and began worming my way, military style, across the floor. On the far side of Will’s full sized bed, he was just beginning to stem the tide of sobs that had resulted from his nightmare; our mother sat next to him, comforting him in her arms. On the nearer side of the room, I spied Michael, sitting up in bed. He’d been woken up by Will’s cries, and was now watching me curiously. I pressed my finger to my lips, cautioning him to silence, and he nodded solemnly. At the tender age of three he’d already figured out what was about to ensue.
I continued my slow crawl across the room, quietly as I could. Will and our mother were too engrossed to notice. I reached the side of the bed, and carefully brought my knees up to my chest, coiling myself to spring, fighting to keep my back and butt down below the level of the bed. Slowly, ever so slowly, I pushed back with my hands, rolling my weight onto my toes. Will was just becoming quiet; my mother’s soothing words were doing their job; Michael sat quietly, waiting, watching the proceedings with interest. I sucked in a deep breath…
and sprang to my feet, roaring in my best Yeti howl, waving my arms like a madman. The room burst into uproar, and I made my escape, my Yeti howls quickly morphing into howls of laughter. Behind me I left chaos: Will was screaming again, my mother – equally surprised and angry with me – was once again comforting him, and Michael was giggling like a very small, mischievous madman.
Come to think of it, that story tells you pretty much everything you need to know about each of our personalities. Heh.
*names have not been changed to protect the innocent, mostly because none of us is even the slightest bit innocent.