We were on a boat dock. I am not sure how old I was, probably around six.
This is how I remember it. My brother Mike and I were shoving each other back and forth. He pushed me, I pushed him, and the next thing I know, he was in the water.
Maybe that is not what happened. Maybe I was a mean little six year old who decided to “off” my brother for no reason. That is how my dad seemed to frame it ever after.
Six of us kids were on the dock, with no life preservers. Mike went under water and did not come up for air.
In my dad went. In a potentially life-changing moment, my dad grabbed for Mike and found him.
Up they came. Off we went, from the dock, to the car. My dad pissed and wet. We drove off in the Cadillac with leather seats, some of them now wet. My dad used choice words to express his upset and glared at me in the rear view mirror.
My brother Mike, on the other hand, did not seem mad at me. We went on as we always had, annoying each other, as all of us siblings did.
However, my dad was not one to forgive and forgot. Every few years, for over forty years, he would bring it up, still in disbelief about “the time Marje pushed Mike into the water…” Me, still filled with shame, and regret and also not quite sure how it had happened, but knowing all full well that there was no intention behind it – for me it was a shove away, not a push into.
Never in a million years would I have hurt my brother Mike.
And never once, in all these years, has Mike hinted that he thought otherwise.