Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Memories of a Scapegoat: Target Practice

My brother would often ask me to play football with him and at first he would go in goal and let me have a few shots but then  it would his turn to take shots that’s what he really wanted to get into.  I would have been about four when we started this game and he would been around sixteen. He would take a run up and would kick the ball so hard at me it would smack me in the face and send me flying back into the hedge. As I was rubbing my face in agony he would laugh and go ooooh sorry pretending it was an accident but I knew even back then he was kicking it as hard as he could on purpose. 

It happened every time we played and I wasn’t allowed to refuse to play with him and in the end I developed a fear of footballs. I would be a nervous wreck when it came to playing with my friends, I would try and hide my fear so I could play with the lads (and not be singled out for ridicule) but I always felt nervous when the ball was being kicked around, it wasn’t until he left for university and stopped being hit in the face so often that the fears started to subside and I could play without having nervous ticks and rapid heartbeat.

I was also good target practice for when he was practising his martial arts, he would call me into the sitting room and ask me to hold his punch bag then walk to the other side of the room, I would say why you going to the other side of the room and he would say just keep still and he ran the full length of our large sitting room and fly kicked me with all his might which sent me flying back through the doorframe taking the wind clean out of me, he was twice my size and the force of it left me on the floor barely able to breathe. I was often forced to be his sparring partner and he never held back not once and he always pretended to be sorry whilst rolling around laughing at whatever damage he caused me.

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