My brothers and I were an unruly bunch and though I was the only girl in a litter of six, I got no special treatment. Because we were unsupervised, hungry, and rather uncivilized, the normal roughhousing that comes with siblings would often turn into a vicious battle royale. These were common events in our household and the injuries sustained still mark my skin in scars that now I can't really remember the reasons for in the first place.
However, one particular fight stands out in my memory: it was the heat of the battle, down to just my middle brother and me. The others watched on with a mixture of horror and curiosity as we struggled against each other. I pulled his hair (my signature move) and at first I had the advantage as I ran to the other side of our modest trailer. In a rage, Jesse threw a dish. I tried too late to duck and it got me in the forehead.
Still dizzy with pain, I opened my eyes just in time to see his reddened face and fiery eyes as he wrapped his hands around my throat.
Things were starting to fade out around me as his hands squeezed the oxygen from my lungs. I thought I had surely lost, my life would end. Then, behold! My brother's prized and only possession: a collection of twenty-five mediocre Pokemon cards that my grandparents had given him for his birthday a few days ago. If I could just get a hold of them, I knew it would distract him long enough for me to escape. In a desperate haze, I flailed around with my hands and caught hold of the stack.
Clinging to consciousness, I tightened my fist and crumpled the cards. Seeing what I had done, my brother let go in an attempt to save the precious cards. But it was too late; wild with adrenaline I was already tearing them into shreds.
As I tore up the last of the Pokemon cards, a common Squirtle, Jesse crumpled into a heap on the floor, sobbing hysterically.
The room turned deathly silent and, knowing that victory was mine, I looked at Jesse ready to gloat. But instead of the normal sadness that usually filled his large green eyes, there was something else. I had utterly destroyed the only things my little brother had ever laid claim to. I watched my brother's heart break and for the first and only time in my life, victory was anything but sweet.