An American Fable

This is a story about two brothers, ages 9 and 10. 

Marty, the older brother, did not treat his younger brother, Jesse, as he deserved to be treated.  He never let him play with his toys or share his allowance.  He went so far as believing that he was better and smarter than his younger brother, even though this was not the case.

One day, Marty did something terrible to Jesse.   Their mother had just made lunch for the boys and put their sandwiches out in the breakfast room.  Marty noticed that Jesse was still outside playing and he began to think about how he could hurt his brother.  Marty had always been a little jealous of Jesse, so this was his chance to get even.  He knew that Jesse was allergic to peanuts, which made his Mother worry all the time.  She never seemed to worry much about Marty.  So, when nobody was looking, he crushed a few peanuts and placed them inside Jesse’s  bologna and mustard sandwich.   That would do the trick!

Well, Jesse ate the sandwich and got sick, real sick.  He had to go to the hospital and got his stomach pumped.  The Doctor said he might have died had he not gotten treatment as quickly as he did, but he did get better and soon was able to go home.   

Marty realized what happened and felt awful.  He did not understand that what he did could have caused so much damage, maybe even killed his brother, so he told Jesse that he would never do anything like that again.   And, he really meant it.   From that day forward, Marty never did anything to hurt Jesse.   He never put him down or made fun of him.  And soon enough, Jesse forgave him for what he did.  

Their mother knew that Jesse could have died and she never got over what happened because she never had forgiveness in her heart. So that Marty would never, ever do anything like that again, once a month she would get the two boys in the kitchen and tell Jesse what a terrible thing his brother had done.  She would retell how sick Jesse was and how he almost died.  When Jesse was in the hospital, she would tell how she was up nights praying that he would get better.   Between the retellings, Jesse would feel terrible about what happened and still tried to forgive Marty.  But it seemed that just as he would begin to forgive, his mother would gather the two boys again and retell what had happened, just to make sure that the two boys would never forget.  Kind of like what happens in school when your teacher wants to make sure you never to forget certain kinds of history.

As the years passed, the stories their mother told each month got more detailed and eventful.    Their mother kept telling Jesse what a terrible thing Marty had done, even as Marty felt awful and vowed never to treat his brother badly again.   But the stories continued, on and on.  Sometimes their mother would embellish what had happened. Small lies would creep into her stories to make it sound worse if she thought the boys began to lose interest.    Jesse’s mother wanted to be absolutely sure that Marty would never again repeat what he had done to their family, so the stories continued.  On and on. 

Although Marty felt awful, and had never treated Jesse with disrespect after the incident (even sharing his allowance), Jesse eventually grew to resent his brother for what he did.   He couldn’t think of anything other than what his brother had done to him and how terribly it affected his mother.  Gradually, over time, he began to feel a bubbling hatred towards his brother.   He did not really know how it happened, or why, but he felt like he just didn’t want to have a brother anymore.  So, going on thirty years now, Jesse has never spoken to his brother.

Marty still loves Jesse but has moved on and has a good job and family that loves him.   He knows now that he can’t do anything to change his brother’s heart, which has hardened with hate, feelings of revenge and getting even.

As for Jesse?   When Jessie is out of prison on probation, he lives at home with his mother, who takes care of him every day and who continually reminds him of what his mean brother did, a very long time ago.

And to pull up his pants now and then.

 

One thought on “An American Fable

  1. Marty should have been shot, or the mother, or Jessie. It is obvious that the single incident that ALMOST killed him and turned his life into a train wreck and caused him to turn into a butt-hurt Democrat should NEVER be forgiven, and that was taught to him by his teachers (the neglectful foster-single-parent that gave almost as much attention to the other kids in his classroom) after his mother explained the situation, just as her therapist recommended.

    Like

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