Friday, July 10, 2009

IF: Hollow

zdepski's ink drawing of him kicking his brother out of a tree
The day I kicked my younger brother, James out of the top of the maple tree in our back yard...

We had been fighting on the ground, as we did DAILY... always scrapping and wrestling until one was totally raging on the other.

This particular day, I guess I was around 13, I was tired of the fighting, and was actually laughing at him as I climbed the maple, enraging him more as he scrambled up the limbs after me.

I reached the limit of supporting branches, caught 30 feet up with no place to go... James was punching and grabbing at my legs.

- I kicked... my foot landed square on his head.

In slow motion, he fell backwards staring at me, face; porcelain with dumb resignation of what was happening to him. His body began bouncing off each branch like a rag doll. first bouncing off his back, then off his side, then the other...

The last 10 feet were free falling until his head bounced on the rear tire of the Farmall Tractor parked beneath the tree - landing face-down in the dirt below...

Silence....

It was the most hollow feeling I had experienced in my life. I believed I had killed my brother with one stupid action.

I flew down the tree like a spider monkey, hovering over him, afraid to touch his still body. Grabbing his shoulders, I flipped him to see his emotionless face. His eyes were wide opened, but not seeing me.

... until tears began to well up in his eyes, and his mouth began to cry a cry so loud, it was silent - beyond the capability of his voice box...

My relief was instantaneous... I have never accepted punishment from my parents so willingly... I truly deserved it.

James is alive and well... Woodworking and raising some fine children of his own...

I don't think his kids fight in trees though...

This ink drawing is from 1987... 12 years after the incident... even now, i get shivers when i think about it...

5 comments:

peggyfussell said...

Oh Paul...
What a powerful story. I am grappling with the sibling rivalry of my own two girls and thinking back on my relationship with my sister...As an "big sister" myself, I can't find the words to tell you tell you how moving this kind of story is. Those early memories really make a mark on a person. Thank you for sharing that one! The love comes through loud and clear.

Gavin Goo said...

Great line work! And thanks for your sharing. :)

John said...

Wow what a story to share .....one never knows what can happen huh? But great story and as always great art thanks man.....

ArtSnark said...

Strong piece & back-story. Great linework

Indigene said...

Remarkable story! It's amazing when we learn the lesson immediately, as opposed to years later! Amazing line work and energy!