Number Three of Three

Scan0041

Being the youngest of three children
had its perks and pitfalls.

I never had to be the first to do anything—
to walk, to talk, to ride a bike, to start
school, to succeed, to fail—so on and so forth.

It was comforting and secure to trail behind
two older siblings who knew the ropes,
even when they chose to hang me out to dry,
rather than share their wisdom.

It was nice to bask in the glow of their
accomplishments, although on occasion
I had to live down the reputation they had
already established, particularly in school.

My sister was a discriminating learner.
If she liked the teacher and/or the subject,
she put her best foot forward.

With his quirky sense of humor and smarts,
my brother cruised through academia
without breaking a serious sweat.

I was the classic overachiever who piled on
the courses and was determined to get an “A”
even if I disliked the subject and/or the teacher.
In other words…’Miss Goody Two Shoes’.

More than once I walked into a classroom
where the teacher’s first words were, “Are you
so and so’s sibling?”

Or worse yet, “Not another (insert last name)
in my class!”

While the move out-of-state after my
sophomore year in high school seemed
an injustice at the time, in reality it was
a blessing in disguise.

The symbiotic sibling interplay was disrupted.
For the first time, I had a perfectly clean slate.

Inspired by Daily Prompt – Symbiosis

Daily Prompt – Connected

 

Scan0355

It was 1966.
I was a freshman in college.
He was a friend of a friend,
a recent graduate with a
degree in accounting,
heading to Vietnam as part
of an Army artillery battalion.

I toted my books from class to class
day after day.
He put his ledgers aside
manning machine guns,
mortars and howitzers.

I retired to the comfort of an
air conditioned dorm room.
He sweat buckets in the jungle 24/7.

I bemoaned dorm food.
He ate C rations.

I penned letters on crisp stationary.
He scribbled on scraps of paper
in pencil, as pens were rendered
useless by unrelenting heat and humidity.

I fell into a safe, cozy bed at night.
He wondered if he would see the morning.

I was immature and self-absorbed.
He exemplified dedication, service and sacrifice.

I was his link to normalcy and home.
He was a glimpse into the chaos of war.

I went on to graduate school.
He resumed civilian life in Iowa.

A call came years later, just to say hello.
Pen pals still connected.