I have only 1 sibling. Amongst other choice things he’s called Justin. He’s 11 months younger than me. We’ve always joked about my Mum being ‘at it’ in the taxi home from the hospital after having me because we were born so close together.
We got on as kids. Most of the time. Other times we stabbed each other in the thigh with a fork. We played outdoors for hours on end in the summer holidays, bike rides, roller skates and playing kerby’s were what we did.
One time when we were 7 or 8 he was riding a Batman motorbike, god knows where he got it from. It was made of plastic, a bit flimsy and we were all stood at the bottom of the hill shouting ‘na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAAAN’ only the bike got a bit excited and he couldn’t stop it. Eyes wide he went over to the side like a motorcyclist. It was summer, flesh on show. Did I rush in terror towards him to help? Did I hell. I pissed my pants laughing. If you go back there you’ll probably find half his skin embedded into the tarmac.
I was a cow to him sometimes, when we fought i’d wallop him. He’d take it quietly then when he gave me a wallop back I’d shout really loud so Mum would hear and tell him off or give him a smacked arse. You’d think he’d have learned after the first 22 times but no. Although in fairness he did try to kill me at least once.
Eating food in our house was a serious affair. You sat at the table quietly, always with knife and fork held properly, elbows off the table. We lived on a council estate but I think my Mum was a Hyacinth Bucket wannabe. Not a bad thing looking back now but I was always jealous of my mates who sat watching He-Man with their burger ‘n’ beans precariously balanced on their knees. Only he knew I was (and still am) a giggler. Absolutely anything would set me off and he’d sit opposite me making faces. The amount of times I got sent to sit in the draughty hallway to ‘think about my behaviour’ with a rumbly tummy was unreal.
He laughed when I got caught throwing my steak and kidney pie out of the bathroom window and I covered for him when he hid his potatoes in the Xmas crackers. No matter how many times he told Nan he hated potatoes they ended up on his plate.
We’d have secret meetings on the landing and sneak downstairs when the little old lady that babysat us wasn’t looking and watch Prisoner Cell Block H through a 3 mm gap behind the brown and orange sofa. We’d smirk at each other in the morning when we were being praised for being so well behaved.
When it came to moving out he came to stay with my friend and I who thought we were the kiddies, we argued a lot but we also shared the good and bad times. We’d sit, down to our last pennies pulling the tobacco out of dog ends in the house ashtray to make a roley or share a bag of Space Raiders with the last few pence we could find down the sofa.
When we went home to visit we scared the crap out of each other with a china doll my Mum was given as a present, hiding it in each others bed and cars with a knife in it’s hand. She still has that creepy shit sat on a wicker chair on the landing of her creepy old house. I swear she watches me walk around smiling about the time I found her late at night in the boot of my car with a meat cleaver poised to kill me.
One thing we’ve always shared though is our sense of humour. Those times when I sit crying laughing at something, the one person I know who will always get it is him. He’s a right royal pain in the arse at times but we’ve always stuck together through good and bad and I wouldn’t do without him.