I am three years older than my brother. Some siblings really love each other dearly and would die to protect each other. Not me. I was a poster child for sibling rivalry. One of my earliest memories involving Christopher was from a time I was really upset about something. I'm pretty sure I was dying, actually. My mom was unavailable so I (very noisily) appealed to my dad for help. I was met with no sympathy, for my distress had awakened the baby.
Very shortly after that, I remember plotting with a friend to murder my baby brother. I think my mom found out and put a kabosh on that pretty early on, which I viewed as a supreme disappointment. So it was only natural that I became one of “those” big sisters. I never made an attempt to mail my brother to Australia or sell him at a discount at a lemonade stand, but I sure got my revenge.
Revenge for what, you ask? Good question. He wasn't really offensive, per se. It was just the fact that he existed. Sometimes we had a good time together and played well, but deep down I loved nothing more than to push him around and make him cry.
Which is why I gave him the “lemonade.”
When I was five and my brother was two (see the picture above), our house procured a quantity of lemon-scented dishsoap. I never liked lemon candy, because it tasted so cloying and fake. But the lemon soap smelled fresh and gorgeous, like real lemons. I put just the tiniest little bit on my tongue, once, just to see. That the taste was so different from the smell was a puzzle, and an intellectually stimulating one.
One day, it found itself within my reach on the bathroom sink. With a cup right next to it. It didn't take a lot of brains to realize the next step.
I handed the cup to my brother, and for these last twenty-seven years, I have cherished how the expression on his face changed so beautifully from excitement (“Lemonade! Yay!) to confusion (“Why does this not taste like lemonade?”), to realization (!!) and finally sadness. His face turned red, tears leaked out of his eyes and streamed down his cheeks, and when he opened his mouth, a glorious iridescent bubble covered his lips. It was the most spectacular thing I had ever witnessed in my young life.
When my mom asked what in the world had just happened, I came clean immediately. Like a clever little sociopath, I spun it in such a way as to make it look like a semi-accident. “I just gave him this cup, I guess it must have had soap in it or something.” I honestly can't remember how or even if my mom punished me. I'm guessing I must have gotten away with it.
I wish I could say that I learned my lesson and never did it again. The truth is that I did learn my lesson, but the lesson learned happened to be, “pushing Christopher around is really great fun and you should do it all the time.” It wasn't until I was in college that he and my mom stopped reminding me of all the other stunts I pulled on him, from combustible ice cream (“That chocolate ice cream will make you blow up, so you should give it to me,”) to suspicious math (“One plus one is eleven. Two plus five is twenty five.”)
How has this affected our relationship now that we're adults? Well, trust is a thing. Obviously.