We are always on the move, we never stay somewhere for very long. My Mother is constantly changing the schools I go to. I doubt I have been to the same place for longer than three months at a time.

I think she's embarrassed by us, her children. There are two of us, both boys, I am the oldest. She doesn't like people to get close and realize what a disappointment she is as a mother for not being able to raise us the way she should have.

Me and my brother, we are very different. He is three years younger than me and scrawny. He's so thin and small that you might be afraid to touch him and make him fall over. But most people think its funny. They like to tease him and poke him and laugh when he stumbles. I don't like that. When people push my little brother around, I like to yell at them and throw dirt in their eyes.

As you can already tell, I am the bully. I have to be. If I'm not mean to people, then who is going to protect Noah? That's my brother's name. My name is Daniel.

I like to think of myself as a tall, strong, buff guy. I'm the opposite of Noah in that way as well. He likes to think of himself as a bunny that is nice to everyone and doesn't make loud noises. He always tells me to stop hitting people and talk to them with kinder words. He doesn't understand why I have to be mean but that's okay.

People started to pick on Noah when he was in 2nd grade and I was in 5th. I wasn't sure what to do at first but then I realized that if everyone knew that Noah had a scary older brother that would protect him, they would stay away. It worked for a while and the bullies left him alone. But then the school started to call our mom and tell her that I was making kids come home crying. After that, we went to a new school until the same thing happened. Now we are all just used to it and its kind of like a ritual. Settle in, maintain power, call home, leave.

No one but Noah uses my real name anymore though. My mom doesn't like to talk to me but when she does she addresses me as "Brat." It makes her laugh to say it sometimes. "Come here, Brat. Get the remote for me, Brat."

Kids at school call me all kinds of names but I honestly don't blame them because I use them on them too.

After a while, the assortment of names grew on me and I began making up names for myself. I did it at first just to make Noah laugh by pretending to be different people like Doctor Stanley, or Hippie James, Astrologist Martin.

When I wrote names like that on my homework papers instead of Daniel, my teachers were confused and worried but we never stayed long enough for them to do anything about it.

One day, when Noah was in 4th grade, he came home really upset. He wouldn't tell me what happen so I got angry and said we would run away and never come back. He just looked at me with his sad eyes and said he didn't want to run away because he can't run fast. I asked him again what happened. He told me some of the kids who he thought he was making friends with had started calling him names to criticize his small stature and weak frame.

That night I went to bed hatching a plan to get back at these kids. I took him to the school playground early the next day so we could prepare.

Stationed on the swings, we waited for the other kids to arrive. When they did, I asked Noah what their names were and the singled each one out. "Fatty Fred", I called out. "Nasty Natalie, Ugly Arther, Wimpy Carl." They all looked at me, surprised and stunned for words. I continued. "Wannabe Sara, Lumpy Leonore, Grumpy David." A teacher came to see what we going on. I had to stop because I couldn't think of any more and I didn't want Noah to be in trouble.

My mother heard of what had happened and we left, yet again. This time was different, however. She had gotten an idea from my name-calling and thought of a way to fix us.

She gave us new names. I was Ben, my brother was Max. We weren't allowed to use our old names or tell anyone who we were. She said that maybe if we pretended to be new people, we would become them. She gave us new personalities that came with the names. Every day she expected us to act out who she wanted us to be and pretend we were in an endless game of make-believe.

It doesn't solve our problem though. I still get into fights at school I am constantly making trouble wherever I go. "Max", as much as he tries, can not get over his shyness that has developed over years of kids laughing at him. My mother is frustrated with us but has faith in her plan. Now every time we move, we get a new name and a new personality. She says that our bad behavior from before is better left in the past with the old us. She says she doesn't like to bring the bad habits and bad reputations that are attached to our real names.

But deep down, my brother and I know who we really are. In secret, I call him Noah and he calls me Daniel. I tell him that we have to keep saying our names to ourselves so that when we need them, they won't be forgotten.

January 30, 2020 16:40

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