No matter where we ended up together, (though I cannot imagine it was any different when he struck out on his own) people always took a shine to my brother. Whether at work or at play, people just naturally got along well with him … and all things being equal, this was actually a good thing.
Still, my brother did have one weakness … though I suppose most men do.
In the case of my brother, he had a passion for entertaining members of the female persuasion … and they were most anxious for him to entertain them it would seem. More than once I was kicked out of my seat riding shotgun so that some gal could take my place … at least temporarily.
My brother also seemed to have a particular weakness though, and … sometimes it is just weird how nature seems to balance things out so that everything continues to work the way that it should.
Most people just never took a shine to me, especially at first. I do not doubt that this is in no small part, due to my introverted nature, but there seems to be even more to it than that. To this day, even as an old man, an unusually large number of people seem to be put off or even downright intimidated by my presence.
Maybe it has something to do with the way I carry myself, maybe it is something in the way I act … if I knew for sure, maybe I could fix it … or at least change it slightly on such occasions as it would be beneficial. As it is, most people just do not like me.
My brother on the other hand, was always very popular, but he had a natural weakness that I had seen fit to defend from the time we were old enough to attend school together … and being only nine months apart, we often found ourselves even in the same classes. I do not think I ever had a girlfriend in our years together, that would not eventually leave me to be with him, but that was just the way things were, and truth be told, I never did really mind sharing with a brother … but as long as it was the choice of the girl, I never saw any good cause to get upset either.
My brother has always been unnaturally strong, but he has also had exceptionally weak bones ever since we were kids. He can quite literally lift up enough weight to break a bone … as he once demonstrated to me … albeit unwittingly, when we were working on a tracked vehicle together and he sought to lift the track gearing into place. To say he has a glass jaw would be a kindness.
I imagine most of the girls back home could have beaten him in a fair fight, not because he was weak or unwilling, but because his bones just broke so danged easily. Thus, ever since we were kids, I have been the one to handle the fighting end of deals gone bad.
Funny though, as even when everybody knew damned good and well that he was the one that had done something wrong, they often came directly to me to settle their score because … well dangit, because they just liked him and he was a right good sort … even if he had wronged them in some way.
Don’t ask me though, as near as I can tell, that was just nature’s way of protecting my brother, and since I had promised as a kid to do just that, I tried not to think about it logically or reasonably as it just made my head hurt … often more than the fights would.
My brother, in my mind anyhow, has always been a lanky and kind of homely sort, though I do know for a fact he is very well endowed … at least in one way anyhow … with good fortune. To put it another way, he had more issues with his “big imagination” than he would ever have to worry about with any “little shortcoming”.
I do not honestly think that was the reason why most women fell for him the way that they did, as even their boyfriends seemed to take a shine to him … even after he would fall prey to the whims and vices of those otherwise virtuous gals.
Inevitably however, the boyfriends, I guess feeling some need to square up and right a wrong, would come after me … if not over that particular slight, over some other perceived slight wherein they just figured I would be the one to settle the debts. As it was, my list was particularly long … even … especially when my brother would have to kick me out of the car or the house to … finish what he started … for lack of a better term.
He could be ten feet away, busy “getting busy” in his car with the girlfriend of a guy we were out partying or even camping with, and inevitably they would take personal issue with me and never with him.
Mind you, I really did not mind, and for better or for worse, I had even grown accustomed to this routine so far as to actually enjoy it more often than not. I would walk into virtually any fight scared, but once some fellow would hit me in the face, I would know he was not experienced and I would remember how much I loved it … and the “game” would be on.
I rarely ever lost in such circumstances, not because of the virtuousness of myself or my brother, but likely because I had cousins who had laid enough whoopings on me that I could take the worst most any three normal guys could dish out, and all that without taking a break to fall down, much less to rest up.
I have not seen my brother in a few years, and have not been there to defend him, but still, I figure he is probably doing okay, as he is probably still out bustin’ hearts, even as I am growing too old to keep on bustin’ heads.