Every family has one

By Tiber

They say in any big family, and maybe even in smaller ones, there’s always one person who feels left out. Maybe we all feel that way at times but around here, the hands-down winner would be my younger brother, Kru.

I think this started when Kru was around 5 and Dad picked him up from some school sports event. We were all home afterwards, seated at lunch, and after tamping down most of the noise, Mom smiled at my sister, Iris Nell, who was 7, and asked,

“Why don’t you introduce us to your little friend, Iris Nell?”

My sister, way overly-sensitive in the best of times, looked up in horror. What was Mom talking about?  Was it possible to have imaginary friends around you that only others could see? Could these “friends” also be carrying  weapons that only others could see?!?

My mother was referring, of course, to the new boy, seated next to my sister. It turned out that my father had picked up the wrong kid at school. And nobody had even noticed that Kru wasn’t there. Good thing it was a simpler time. God knows what Dad would be charged with now, even with the right kids sorted out.

Mom was furious, even though Dad kept trying to defend himself with,

“They all had on the same uniform! They all looked alike!”

“They’d all look alike in the womb in the same uniform!” my mother retorted. “Not when they’re five!”

Duncan, ever the evil older sibling, whispered to Kru that Dad didn’t really mean to leave him with his coach. And just as Kru was starting to feel better, Duncan closed with,

“No, no, this was just a dry run so he could work out the timing. He really plans to leave you with vultures!”

I told Kru to just ignore Duncan but he sat paralyzed at the table for the longest time. And Iris Nell was no help. She was frozen too. Having introduced the idea of invisible friends that only she couldn’t see, brought up the possibility of invisible vultures as well.

Of course, I didn’t know any of this. Iris Nell asked me cryptically,

“Do you think if we invited some mice to the dinner table that then the little kids won”t be carried away?”

I can see her point now but at the time I thought, and not for the first time, I am related to crazy people. And will it rub off on me?

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