He was naïve by all senses of the word apart from academically. He was a sociologist by will of interest, he could sit at the dinner table and talk about society and all it's functions but he couldn't load a gun, he had no idea what a woman looked like, and he couldn't organize a train journey by himself, but when he spoke to us about his philosophies, when his words lost him and he would sit with a waxy gaze smiling with passions for it none of us understood, it was clear to us that he was going to become the successor of our Father's intelligence.
Our sister was a serial offender to the law of our household. Whatever rule was set to keep her from harm, however loud our Mother's voice became and however many times she was scalded didn't matter to her. I remember with innocence the sort of men she would bring home to us. Big things, with eyes that forced the disquiet in us all the razors of unreasonable hate. We wondered where they came from, and with a secret sort of voice she once told me. I can't remember what she said, but somehow, I found myself a natural favourite to them. They would sit, looking terribly out of place, and I would share my sweets with all of them. What they yield, something to do with boxing, but they never said anything against us, so I never said anything against them.
My other sister was a natural damsel, content to play her part wandering and crying and sighing and wearing pale clothing. No one suggested that she shouldn't, so she did. She took a GCSE in home economics and excelled in English literature. She was a waif of the angels, where my brothers would happily kick a dog in it's belly, she was always there to pet it back into comfort. Our neighbor hated her. He said that she was a wolf in sheeps clothing, and I never understood why, but when she pulled her hair up into a tight bun and poked her bottom into the postman's groin I began to think less of her as a child.
I wasn't the youngest, nor was I the oldest in our clan of calamity, but in the awful inbetween of knowing enough not to let me get away with whatever I wanted like my parents first child, and being young enough to have certain privileges like tips from our granny and being one of he first to receive their dinner. As a family, we would walk to school holding hands, and I would tantrum about being patronized, and I think my oldest sister one day got so fed up with me that she would have happily watched me waddle off into the middle of the road and be flattened by a tractor.
Although an argument starter, I suppose I wasn't all passive aggression. I had a kind of attraction to the nature of our residence. There never seemed like enough time for me to be stuck in a classroom mimicking the information on the board into my tiny notebooks. I wanted to be amongst the dragonflies and the golden tides of reeds in the fields. I wanted to pick up ticks and kick mole hills and capture butterflies in my hands. My education was an absurdity to me that I should ever bother with it. I never saw the danger in doing whatever I wanted out in the woods by myself, coming home when I was to cold to feel my nose and being waited on hand and feet by my Mother that never seemed to stop cleaning. It was easy to curl up next to my sister and whoever it was she chose to bring home. It was easy to go out clean and come back in with God knows what dried in my hair, making me look like a victim of something terrible out there in the isolation of gnats and fleeing deer. But my parents couldn't care enough to pay my dislike to my scolarships any strenuous attention (we were in the countryside, and so danger beyond our threshold was as uncommon to us as seeing a pig stand on it's back legs.)
I cannot say that our parents ever expressed anything loving like you think they should. They never taught us the gentle affection that we only assumed they still held for each other within their own company. Our mother was a nurturer of us like some people are of the flora, but never did we see her kiss our dad's cheek or tell him that she loved him. Our Father never looked at our mum with a fondness or suggestion of appreciation for all that she did for us. He was a nurturer of discipline, no matter how much our mum wanted to believe that she had final authority. She could admit with a tiny degree, however, when one of us got into trouble at school, that we should wait until our father get's home, there was a reckoning coming, to which we all sought to hide away in a delirious fear to how loud he might get, how angry his otherwise demure face would become, what he would reach for when he decided to strike us. I think that this must be something to do with our Brother's sadism. I never seemed to question it much. 'It's just how he is' was a common excuse, while we all tried to believe that we was just private about his kindness like our parents were. One day he had beaten a boy so badly that the boy was sent to hospital with broken bones and internal bleeding. The blood on my brother's shirt scared Poppy to death, and we never found the source of the bleeding on him. He was threatened with being expelled from school, and, thinking it best to find a new start, we moved into the city. I haven't seen a deer in the flesh in years, and it takes two whole hours to travel to see our grandparents again and I have never forgiven him.