Roar of the Sister

I relaxed in my room, absorbed in a book, laughter and giggles trickling through my open window facing the backyard.

Then suddenly, crying.

Curious, I peeked out the window.

A pack of children surrounded my wailing brother, splayed on the ground.

“It’s ok,” the oldest girl told him, luring him up with a sweet voice. “Do you want this?” She held a jump rope in front of him.

He calmed down and stood, nearly the size of our next door neighbor’s four year old, reaching for the jump rope.

She held it away from him, as the other three joined her in a round of Keep Away From My Brother.

At first he giggled gleefully. It was a game.

Then, one by one, they pushed him, tentative at first, then with zeal – malicious glints in their eyes matching the malevolent laughter at his hurt and confusion.

“Why are you doing this?” asked his heartbroken face.

They shoved him to the ground. If he didn’t stay down and cry, they did it again. And again.

They tossed the jump rope onto a lower tree branch overhanging the swing set next door.

They cackled when he tried to reach it, then pushed him again, this time so hard he hit his head on the ground.

Tears fell. My brother cried while they once again surrounded him, the loop repeating.

I watched the scene in disbelief. I knew these kids, none of them bad.  Yet together, they transformed into a mob of cruelty – bullying a helpless child two or more years younger.

MY BROTHER.

I exploded, rage obliterating the bubble of shock surrounding me.

“STOP IT NOW!” I yelled out my window.

I raced out my bedroom door, down the long hallway, skipped the stairs three at a time, and flew through the tiled entryway into the kitchen and out the back door – a ten second sprint that already had the four scattering to the winds.

“Get back here NOW!” I screamed, my enraged voice ricocheting off the suburban houses across the greenbelt before returning to my backyard.

Nervous smiles graced a few faces, the ages of the quartet ranging from four years old to eight, not sure how to process the demand of a 13 year old who normally had no power over them. They slowly walked across the fresh cut grass that scented the air, feet disappearing into the vivid summer green, until they reached my side.

Four pairs of eyes followed me as I crossed into the next yard; the only existing fence was the black metallic one separating the row of houses from the greenbelt – everyone’s yard open to their neighbors. I knelt down, gently wiping away the tear-stained blue eyes of my two year old brother, the shock over my shouting distracting him from the hurt and ceasing his sobs.

He happily climbed to his feet again, the easy smile back on his face. Just like a few minutes before.

I turned my full wrath on The Four.

“You think it’s funny, pushing down a two year old? Someone too small to fight back? How would you like it if I did that to you? You want me to shove your face into the ground?” Every muscle in my body screamed to do exactly that, to dose them with a taste of their own medicine.

The nervous “is she serious?” smiles returned.

Because I will. If I ever catch you picking on him again, I will do to you everything you did to him.”

One by one, the smiles vanished, the venom and message in my eyes sinking in.

You don’t mess with people I love.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

RemembeRED – True self

This week’s assignment was, when meeting someone for the first time, describing a scene from your life that would help show the person your true self.

I struggled with this piece. I wanted to write it memoir style, but with so much of the conflict external and not happening to me, I wasn’t sure I succeeded.

Did I show and not tell the story?

ConCrit always appreciated.

Thanks to Denelle at Caitlin’s Concepts for encouraging me to post this in spite of my doubts about it being a “defining” moment.

 

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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40 Responses to Roar of the Sister

  1. Yuliya says:

    My teeth were clenched the entire time! You showed a lot of restraint, I might have knocked their heads together.

    • I barely had enough control to understand I was much bigger than they were – and I would be the “at fault” person. That being said, had they repeated this ever, I would have followed through, explaining to their irate parents “they were warned.”

      To this day, I still remember how scared I was at the violence I wanted to do in that moment, because the treatment of him was so very wrong.

      As a mother, I now understand this to be the Mother Bear Protector in us. At 13, I was clueless I was capable of such feelings, until this moment.

  2. Frelle says:

    hell. yeah.

    great job with this one. well written, powerful, vivid, evoked your horror at watching and anger in me as I read it!

  3. logyexpress says:

    I got tears in my eyes reading this–injustice makes me so angry. Good for you for putting fear into them.

  4. Erin says:

    Oh how ticked I would be! No one picks on my brother….but ME! =)
    But I don’t know how you didn’t knock some sense into those kids, I would have!

    • God I wanted to. I think I had just the tiny sense that if I did cross that line, my anger would cause me to go beyond the point of “payback” and into “doing serious damage.”

      Just imagine I was green and turned into the Hulk.

      Also, the oldest was the stepsister of the only friend I had at the time. I thought putting her in the hospital might have caused some issues.

      But mostly, I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. Fury doesn’t begin to cover it.

  5. Tonya says:

    You were there when your brother needed you most. You were brave when he couldn’t be. You stood up for what matters most – Family.

    Lovely piece.

    • This is a case where bravery really had nothing to do with it: there were four of them, but the oldest was about five years younger than me and the youngest was about 5. I easily could have smashed them into the ground.

      I just wanted to make sure nothing like this ever happened again, in case I wasn’t around to stop it. My brother was so sweet at that age, the idea of him subject to cruelty so malicious – I couldn’t stand it.

  6. Jack says:

    Roar of the sister is a great title for this.

    • What you didn’t read because of word count: how my mother popped her head out the back door after I called the kids back – because I had yelled so loud and with such fury, you could probably hear me in the next county.

      I told her “NOTHING!” in that teenager “leave me alone” voice and she went back inside.

      I’d witnessed the bullying, and I was damn well going to deal with it.

  7. Kate says:

    Yes, my siblings & I were referred to as the mafia. If you messed with one of us you messed with all of us. All my little sisters or brothers had to yell was “I’m going to go get Kate.” Seriously, some of these kids who are now young adults are still scared of me. It cracks me up. Like I could do anything to them.

    Good for you standing up for him!!! I was angry the entire post, I wanted to go beat up those four brats!

    • If those kids were bullies normally, I might not have held my anger in check. This was a case of “mob mentality” I believe, where a game started, it got out of hand, the group found it funny and then they fed on each other – the situation escalating into cruelty with nothing holding them in check.

  8. Dana says:

    I wish you had been MY big sister.

  9. Jessica says:

    Oh this is so me, I’m not that tough until you mess with someone I love. I had the “Roar of the Sister” too. Great job, I was right there, my heart breaking for your little brother.

  10. I can really identify with this experience! I have a similar memory of standing up for my little bro. 😉

    Visiting from TRDC.

  11. Oh. My. Goodness. Amazing writing! I had people picking on me like they did to him and I was the oldest, so I didn’t have a big sister like you. The entire time I read this I knew exactly what your brother was feeling and you too. Cause I have felt it. Thank you for this piece!

  12. OK…you wrote the ending wrong. What you meant to say was…

    “My yelling faded as my fists started. I punched each one of The Four in the throat and made them lick the dog poo off the bottom of my brother’s shoe.”

    I can see where your wording got tricky and you wrote wrong. Just letting you know how to revise it….

    OK Seriously though, great piece! I loved the horror into action. Family love. Protection.
    Great!

    • Ahh, the irony of the situation.

      I have no doubt, that The Four been older or bigger than me, I would have retaliated physically with all of my fury. Since I was so much older than they were, I restrained myself – because I was so angry, I might have crushed their skulls together.

      It terrified my 13 year old self that I was capable of wanting to do such violence to another person.

      Thanks for the concrit. 🙂

    • ROFL Best Comment Award!

  13. Leighann says:

    Awesome!!
    I used to get made fun of for standing up for my brother.
    But people left him alone!!

  14. Elaine says:

    You made me SO mad too! Excellent descriptions. You did a great job of getting us to feel your same emotions. Nicely done!

    And way to stick up or your brother!!

  15. You definitely showed me that you love, you protect, and you were a Mama Bear long before you ever had kidlets of your own. I felt like I was racing down those stairs with you, you brought me/your reader along on the journey to protect an innocent. Nicely written!

    (And on a personal note, I’m even more glad to have connected with you on Twitter! :>)

  16. Hooray! It turned out great.. and I’m glad you posted it. It’s definitely very defining of your character and that’s a very important thing for people to know about you, especially now that you have kids of your own! 😉

  17. Mandyland says:

    This post was brilliant!

    First off, technically speaking, you had me right there with you. I was standing next to you. I could see their faces, sense their fear, feel your anger. Amazing writing, lady!

    Second, as a big sister myself, I wanted to cheer and applaud you. I remember many a time my sisters and I used intimidation to stop the taunting of our baby sister who struggled with a speech impediment.

    And it showed me more of who you are. I have a feeling you champion anyone who needs help – related or not.

  18. andygirl says:

    oh well done! both for this post *and* protecting your brother of course. I was right there with you, feeling your wrath.

  19. Jackie says:

    I think that you did a great job!

    You’re an awesome big sister and I bet he was happy to have you there to protect him that day! It always surprises me how mean kids can be.

  20. Rebekah C says:

    My heart was beating so fast! I think you did a great job showing us who you were in that moment. I am sure it was a defining moment for you. I think those times when we find ourselves stepping OUTSIDE of “us” to protect someone else are moments of pure growth.

  21. Mandy is right, this demonstrated that you are a champion for the little guy. I felt your shock and rage (felt some myself)….
    I must must must encourage you to publish even when the piece feels raw and unfinished because this amazing group of writers will support you and help you develop your skills. (not me, i’m just an idea girl but you know, the rest of them are good!)

  22. Renee says:

    This post is awesome! You showed yourself well. The older sister protecting her brother.
    And? Oh hell yes! I’d have gone postal on those brats!

  23. JP says:

    You go girl! You had me cheering you on in between the lines!…:)JP

  24. I think it’s a great choice for your scene and it speaks volumes. I like that you used a something from your childhood whereas I was thinking the prompt called for a scene from your everyday life. The sequence where you bounded down the stairs was my favorite. You felt that this was the first time you felt a need to be protective.

  25. I loved the opening sentence. But WOW the story was great and you handled it like a pro because I would have done some a$$ kicking!

  26. Kir says:

    I actually did cry when I read this, maybe because my boys are 3 now and I couldn’t imagine this happening. My brother is 9 yrs younger than me and I felt that protective place when my brother was growing up, that I wanted to hurt anyone who hurt him.

    I loved this. Yes, you did SHOW me, a lot about you. 🙂

  27. Sara says:

    Visions of Lord of the Flies flew into my head while reading this. So glad your little bro has an awesome big sis like you. I loved it when you called them The Four. Totally great. Glad to hear that all big sisters aren’t bullies themselves 🙂

  28. Elena Aitken says:

    you did a great job portraying the scene. i felt like I was there for sure.
    Love the title!
    thanks for letting me peak in on this.
    I’m very interested in this #TRDC thing…..

    Great work!

  29. Galit Breen says:

    I had chills throughout every single second of this read. You kicked this post’s ass. And then some.

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