Brother Oh Brother

I was always close to my older brother, Action Jackson, until the day he sat me down and told me I was dumped.

As a child, I wasn’t what you would call a girly girl, I mainly blame my father for this. He had obviously hoped I was a boy, photographic evidence proves this to be the case. There I’d be, in dungarees, polo neck nearly touching my mouth, hair cut tight holding a football while my older sister Puds would be smiling for ear to ear in a pretty dress, hair tied in two pigtails with ribbons holding a beautiful porcelain doll. When confronting my father with this evidence, “Sure, Mac’een, that was the time you’d the ol’ nits”. “Not true dad”, we all knew if one of us had nits back then, we all had them. Puds clearly had a nit free head in this photo.
“Why am I dressed like a boy?” I was laughing as he was scratching his own head thinking about nits now. “Ahh you were a tom-boy, you know you were” he kissed my cheek as he took his old photo back. “You wanted a boy, admit it” I laughed. “Not at all Mac’een, I got you, tough as nails, walkin’ talkin’ that size tiny tears!”
My dad always used this sentence when describing me~ I was a small child, I didn’t seem to grow until I was 14. I was very thin, which meant I was quiet fast on my feet, I talked an awful lot despite having a bad stammer and I fought a lot too with neighbourhood kids, taking on their older brothers too at times. I was tiny, I had to be tough. I don’t know why he added the ‘tears’ bit, I think it has something to do with him putting me in a cardboard box, at Christmas for my older sister Queen, who had wanted a doll called ‘tiny tears’ from Santa. Dad had figured this would be hilarious, Queen would have only been 6, I doubt she found it funny, my mother didn’t either. The ‘Mac’een’ nickname is from the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’ that’s all I know and thats the bit that has stuck to this day.
I played conkers with Action Jackson, marbles,cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers and climbed plenty of tress. We’d go ride his BMX all over our estate, me on the crossbar, him steering, pretending he was going to hit walls and bushes~ he never did, at least not with me on the bike. We’d get out his action men, his tanks, build forts and have secret passwords to let each other in. We’d play tricks on our neighbours, throwing stuff out of our attic window, hitting them on the head, then ducking before they could see us. We’d call them, then duck too, often too slowly, we’d hear the door bell go and knew it was Julie form next door. We’d be called down to apologise, then made repeat what we said to our dad, once Julie had left. “Julie, Julie, we see you, we are watching you, Julie, Julie” We never knew if it was a clout we’d get or a laugh. “In the honour of Jayous, will ye stop doing that or at least duck in time” my dad would scold us and send us on our way, we’d hear him giggle as we made our way back up to the attic. We’d play for hours. Army men, Thundercats, Wrestlers, there were no ‘boys’ toy I didn’t play with, my brother seemed to have them all.
I remember telling Santa one year, that I wanted ‘Stretch Armstrong’, Santa had told me that was a boy’s toy. I had never thought about girls toys and boys toys until that year, I turned 7 and Mucker turned 5. That was also the year Action Jackson decided I was replaceable.
“Now listen Mac.” He nodded for me to sit on his transformer quilt. “Yeah Action” I sat eagerly awaiting the details of our next adventure.” You knew Mucker here was eventually going to grow up” Action rubbed Muckers head. Mucker smiled at me, eyes wide, teeth missing, he knew something I didn’t know. “He’s he’s he’s a ba baby’ I stammered. “He’s old enough to play with my stuff though” Action bent down to me. “He’s 5 now Mac, it’s time for him to learn how to play with all this”, he stood up pointing at his new Star Wars figures, his new Transformers.”And, and it’s time for you to go to the girls room and play with barbies, shop, house and all that girly shit” Action patted my head.” We talked about this Mac, you knew as soon as Mucker was old enough, you’d have to move on”.
There and then, at the age of 7, I had learned boys were fickle and boys will stick with boys. I got up, kicked Action and pushed Mucker.”You’ll pay for this” I threatened Mucker as I left. Why threaten Mucker? ah well, that was easy, I could easily take him, I wasn’t so confident about taking Action, he was after all, 10 years old. That was way too old and in double figures, he was one of the big kids in our house.

And so Action dumped me for Mucker…I’m still not completely over it!

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geraldinesmyth@gmail.com

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