Little Brother

Published: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 Written by Siobhan Pascal
 
 Samuel leaned against the post and gazed solemnly at a stray pushcart that sat on the browning grass in front of his home. On top of it was a blue water barrel, the top of which had been cut off. He felt a sharp pang of pain as memories began to resurface.
 
Michael, Samuel's younger brother of a four year difference had followed him around all the time. Michael adored his brother and wanted to be just like him so he often followed him around. Samuel hated every moment of it.
 
On that fateful day Samuel had found him to be particularly bothersome. All he wanted was to go and play football with his friends but Michael insisted on tagging along. No matter how much be begged Michael would not leave.
 
The exasperated older brother finally came up with an idea "O.K Mikey." he said with a mischievous grin, "Why don't you go get the pushcart and then we'll play."
 
"Really?" Michael said elatedly. He was so happy that he could finally play with his big brother. He ran as fast as his scrawny legs could carry him. Unfortunately when he returned with his trolley in tow his brother was nowhere to be seen. Michael searched the small yard for Samuel but he was gone. Michael sat and looked out onto the barren yard. His shoulders slouched and his lip began to tremble.
 
"Don't worry Mikey," he sniffed as he tried to stop his heart from sinking any lower, "He'll come back." The feelings of rejection and sorrow overcame the small boy.
 
As more time passed, tears began to roll down his dark face. Michael silently chastised himself for being a baby. But why would his brother leave him? He promised he would play with him. All Michael wanted was to be just like his big brother, to be big and strong and confident just like him. Maybe that was it! Yes, Samuel wanted him to prove that he could be big.
 
With resolve in mind Michael picked up the push cart's handle, wiped the tears from his eyes and went to search for Samuel. 
 
He searched until he wanted to give up, and he was just about to when the familiar sounds of street football reached his ears. Michael ran towards the open street where his brother and his friends were engaged in a lively game.  Samuel's face fell when he saw Michael at the end of the road. Samuel picked up the beaten and worn ball and made his way to his younger brother.
 
"What are you doing here?" Samuel asked tersely.
 
"I want to show you that I can act big." Michael looked up at him with big bright eyes.
 
Samuel turned back to his friends and tried to formulate a plan to get rid of his brother. When he finally turned back his face was not as devilish as it was the first time.
 
"O.K. Mikey," he said slowly "Ride down that hill in the pushcart if you want prove that you're old enough to play with us or else go home." then he tacked on "There is no shame in backing down."
 
Michael leaned around his brother to stare at the rocky hill that the road descended on. He looked nervously at the steep descent and then at his older brother. In his mind Samuel tried to will Michael to give up, but it was not working. Michael took a deep breath, climbed into the barrel and pushed off.
 
The cart rocked back and forth as it coasted down the hill. Michael was absolutely terrified as every bump threatened to throw him over. The trolley continued to speed down the road at an ever increasing rate. Michael was so busy wondering how to stop that he did not see the large rock quickly approaching.
 
Samuel's heart stopped when the pushcart hit the rock and the barrel continued to sail over it. He went cold when both the barrel and his brother crashed into the ground. Neither moved. 
 
That was many years ago but Samuel had never really forgiven himself. If only he had played with him. Samuel could practically see Mikey sitting on the cart, crying because he was lonely. The image of his little brother all by himself broke Samuel and he began to cry.
 
"I'm sorry." he sobbed, but could not say any more through his grief.
 
"What's wrong?" a high pitched voice asked.
 
Samuel turned to see his little sister, Micha. He dried his eyes got up and hugged her.
 
"Nothing Micha. Come on let's go play." he took her and they walked away.
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