The year my seventh birthday rolled around my brother left us for the angels. At five it was early, way too early. And four brothers would never know the joys of growing up with Vincent.
Yellow fever had possessed him, and that, with double pneumonia took him.
The strange thing is I do not recall how I felt. Was he missed in those early days? The fact that four brothers played where there use to be five, did we notice? Though I cannot recall I'm sure he was missed. And yet so vivid in my memory was the needle that we were expected to accept without tantrums and without escape.
"Ronnie!" My mother called from the house.
I knew it was my turn. I had seen my brothers exit in tears, I had heard their bellows of indignation and had planned my route. I was going to be strong; I was going to be brave; I was going to stand tall in front of my brothers and--- escape.
"Ronnie!" My father was on his way out the back to collect me and I knew I would not stand a chance once I was held.
Off the veranda and across the tufts of dying grass I fled. A dodge to avoid the tomato bushes, a skip to my step and I launched myself. My toes hooked the bottom rail of the picket fence and with the agility of a cat and the fear of a thousand hells storming upon me I thrust my backside up and hooked a leg over the top pickets.
I was a roll away from dropping to the other side and obtaining my freedom when the wedgie I felt was accompanied by a collar scruff. I was hauled indignant, kicking, and screaming to the Doctor whose grin did not dispel the fear or the glint of the huge needle he held--- Doctor Frankenstein, I presume.
I do not recall where he emptied that syringe, nor do I really care. So what if they were trying to save my life and avoid the remaining four brothers becoming three or less. What right did they have to implant such fear into the memory of one so young? What right indeed? I thought as I chewed on the jellybeans given by the Doctor and grinned at the brotherly recognition that I had almost made it--- for that fleeting moment I had almost won gold.
The torment of that day returned to haunt me every time a needle pricked my skin. In bravado I would still my legs from running, hold down the fear building within, squint through the tears and clench my teeth through the pain, and step back upon completion to faint...
It got so a young lad's dignity could only be saved if he lay down at the outset. First in line and first to lay down! But I learned you could outgrow anything; every childhood fear can diminish with age.
I still wonder what it would be like with Vincent to share our lives. Would I have still fainted from the myriad of injections we well-travelled kids had to suffer? I would have lost this memory if Vinnie were still alive, but I would have gladly replaced it with others.
About the author
At 64 years young I finally have the time to dedicate to my writing. The series Shadow Light is my baby. Now up to three completed novels and seeking an Agent to accompany me on the journey of publishing and marketing.