I was an only child, until I was twelve years old.
My brother, Duke, made his grand appearance that year...followed by my sister, Corky, two years later.
My mother and stepfather claimed that this big age gap was planned, for two reasons:
1. To prevent me from becoming a teen mom.
2. Free child care.
Even if they were joking, they achieved both goals.
For the most part, I think I was a pretty good big sister. However, there was one incident that I feel may have damaged my little brother's psyche, for life.
Duke had a doll... a "My Buddy" doll.
For those who missed out on these 80's attempts at gender-bending, these were cute dolls that bore an unusual similarity to the horror movie star, "Chucky."
Duke loved his "Buddy." To my parents' dismay, he insisted on toting him around, everywhere (along with two stuffed clowns and a stuffed dog... but they aren't part of this story).
One day, I turned on the TV, so the kids could watch "The Fraggles" while I washed the dishes. Looking up from the sink, I saw something horrific... HBO was showing "The Making of Chucky" as a prelude to the kids' show!
I ran to shut it off.
I was too late.
Duke looked at me, brows furrowed over his trusting eyes.
"Why was Buddy hurting that man?" he whispered.
Thinking quickly, I told Duke a story... "That man was a bad man," I said. "He was going to hurt the boy. The doll's name is 'Chucky,' and he was the boy's best friend. He wasn't really HURTING the man... he was trying to scare him, so he'd run away, and leave the boy alone."
Duke didn't seem convinced, but he accepted my answer.
At least, I thought he did.
That night, I had tucked the kids into bed. I was in the other room, working on my homework.
Looking up from my book, I saw Duke.
Our eyes met.
"You lied to me," he whispered.
Without another word, he turned and returned to his room.
The next day, he was acting like himself, again.
Since he seemed to have put the mysterious incident behind him, I decided to do the same.
I didn't even notice that he left Buddy behind, when we took our walk to the store.
A few days later, I found Buddy.
He was buried beneath a pile of clothes and toys, in the closet.
That's when I realized that I hadn't seen Buddy around, lately. I assumed that Duke had misplaced him, and been reluctant to tell us. I set Buddy on the bed, so Duke would be surprised when he saw it.
He didn't mention it, but I DID see him carrying Buddy outside, to play.
That night, after dinner, I went out to feed the dogs.
Buddy was sitting in the yard, beneath Duke's treehouse.
When I went to retrieve him, I realized that the doll was TIED to the tree.
Darn kid had tied Buddy up, and been too proud to admit he couldn't UNTIE him.
I figured I'd help him out. That's what big sisters do, right?
With some difficulty, I undid all of the knots. I carried the doll back into the house, and tossed him onto Duke's bed.
From then on, Duke became very careless with Buddy.
I kept finding him in the oddest places... inside a dog cage, shut in the oven, on the basement stairs... it seemed like I was ALWAYS running across that darn doll. Each time, I'd retrieve it and toss it on his bed.
Finally, after about a month of this behavior, Duke burst into tears.
He begged me to take the doll far away.
He confessed that he had wanted to see the movie I had "told him about." He had snuck into my parent's room, and watched some of it. It had scared him. He'd been trying to get rid of Buddy, but... THE DOLL KEPT COMING BACK!
"Every time, he comes back... he sit on my bed, smiling... like he's WAITING FOR ME!!!" He sobbed.
And that, my friends, is how I mentally damaged my little brother.
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