Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dare

Climbing trees for me was a passion. We had a large Mimosa tree in the back yard. The limbs were spread wide and easy to climb. I worked my way up to one of the higher branches and called out to my brother, “Watch me!” I jumped down the 8 feet to the ground and landed on my feet. I told my brother, “Now you try.” He was reluctant but I cajoled him until he gave in. My brother’s path to the ground was not as graceful. A second too late I realized just how far a fall it was for him. He landed on his arm. When I asked him if he was all right, he screamed at me to go away. I figured if he was capable of being that rude that he was fine. Perhaps an hour later my father came into the house screaming at me. My brother had broken his arm to the point that it nearly protruded through his skin. In the weeks that followed I was haunted by my guilt. I went out of my way to be nice to him, bring him a drink, get a crochet hook to scratch under his cast, bring him something if he needed it. Yet no amount of groveling seemed to gain that trusting bond we once had.

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