I saw his silhouette coming into view as he approached the door and my stomach began to churn. He quickly entered looking disheveled and distracted but looked around in dissatisfaction at the dishes piled in the sink and clothes strewn around here and there.
Staring right ahead at the football game, I sat frozen, pretending I didn’t take notice of him. I hoped he would just fly by me and go get whatever he came in for but his heavy footsteps stopped suddenly when he saw me in the rocker.
“What are you doing watching football? Look at this place! Get over here and do these dishes!”
“I will in a minute.”
As he came closer, my brother looked like a towering giant even at 20 years old. Being only 14 and the youngest of the family, I always feared getting tossed around or beat up so I quickly ran to the sink and turned on the faucet. My eyes stung as I watched the bubbles rise, hoping he wouldn’t do anything else to me.
“You better clean this place up good or I’m gonna beat the crap out of you.”
“I will!” I said angrily.
“And your homework better be done too.”
To my relief distant footsteps bounded down the stairs, and I knew it was my sister. It was a welcomed distraction.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“This kid is watching football and not doing any work around here.”
Before I knew it he went into the living room to turn off the game.
“Make sure she doesn’t watch any TV until this place is clean.”
Turning around, he finally headed out and left both of us in silence for a moment.
“I’ll do the dishes and pick up, but can I turn the TV back on? I really want to watch this game, I looked at her eye to eye, pleadingly.
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Get these things done.”
I held my breath and paused a moment. “OK.”
After she went upstairs I ran to the window to make sure my brother’s car was gone and turned the game back on as I steadied myself from the upset, but sighed in satisfaction when I realized we had come out ahead.
One way or another, I was going to watch my football game!