Like A Melon


Like A Melon

Baking in the hot New York sun, I sat on a bench, looking out over the slightly less attractive New Jersey on our big NYC vacation. This was the vacation of which I had always dreamed. I had a passionate desire to stroll through the crowded streets of angry men and woman shouting profanities at one and other. I was inspired so much by the grandeur that I wrote an entire novel centered around the city. Five hundred and seventy five pages of “Jason Pauli’s Tenth Grade Comedy Masterpiece” otherwise known as “Jason Pauli’s Five Hundred Page Book of Bad Fart Jokes.”

I sat on the bench while getting some summer homework reading done while the sun shone down on the boardwalk. My mother and father were off looking at knick knacks, I <3 NYC t-shirts, and whatever else middle aged people do. My brother, on the other hand, was in the skate park behind me doing grindy flips and kicky slides and other things that baffle the non-athletic types.

The joy of being in the city, as well as the glorious weather made me almost enjoy that awful piece of French literature I was forced to read. The sounds of bustling cars and laughing children filled the air. Thankfully I had headphones.

As I sat there, jamming out to the kind of music that causes all my friends to question my sexuality, a distinct cry beaconed out. The sound was quite familiar, being that I have had to live with it for the past thirteen years. It was the sounds of my brother’s cries. Though it disrupted my music I paid little attention to it at first. He was quite the cry baby all our lives: crying when mom took his toys, crying when he had to go to bed, crying when I punched him for being different. Grow a pair, would ya? These sounds became more familiar as he dove into the all too sophisticated realm of skateboarding. Now, when you combine someone who whines and complains a lot with constantly hitting various extremities on concrete, you are bound to stumble upon the most annoying nuisance you have ever encountered. Most people would sprint to their sibling at the sound of their pain. As for myself, assuming he only got a “little boo boo,” paid him no never mind and continued singing Mama Mia.

Normally he would let out a yelp once or twice, cry to mother, and then continue skateboarding. This time, however, was different. The cries went on. First one, then two, and then the cries that sounded like a teenage girl realizing she had been stood up for prom (and she looked so beautiful in her gown). In a rage at this annoyance, I turned to my brother and screamed, “Would you politely shut your face hole?”
I saw a small crowd had gathered around my brother, who all turned and looked at me in disgust, as if I had tossed out some racial slur or said “Obama Twenty Twelve” in the heart of Texas. At this point, I got my first glance at my brother and his “incident.” I had expected nothing more than a small bruise on his shoulder or a cut on his arm. I looked at my brother to find blood dripping down his shirt and his head cracked open like a watermelon. I immediately flailed my arms, attempting to grab those horrible and insensitive words I had just launched into the air. To my dismay, that is not how sound works.  I dropped my book to the ground and tossed my iPod to the side. As I sprinted over there, that same broken-hearted teenage girl was still crying, I spotted my parents over at the mini golf course. Our interaction lasted for but a few seconds. Mother raised her right hand and extended her right thumb, a gesture known in Western Civilizations as a “thumbs up,” often a signal for “Y’all doin’ good?” To this gesture, I responded nodding my head no and pointing to my bleeding brethren.  In an instant my mother’s face shifted from that of happiness and content, to “Oh no, Jim dropped the baby.” Faster than that of any Olympic sprinter, my mother tossed the golf club and shoved many innocent bystanders to the ground as she cried out, “My baby! Oh God, my baby!”

Once inside the park, I attempted to get past the crowd of now at least twenty young skateboarders gathered around my brother. Alas, I was weak and could not break the barrier. My mother then charged in from behind, and within seconds parted the Red Sea of skaters like a middle aged female Moses. After the sea was parted, I stood at my brother’s side, as mom nurtured my brother like a bird that fell out of a tree because he sucks at flying. Several of the other skaters shot me a cold glance. To them, I was not the brother of the boy with the cantaloupe sized hole in his head. To them, I was that tool who told the cantaloupe boy to can it so he could listen to Abba the musical. A kind boy, whom I have named Steve in my many retellings of this tale, had called the hospital and informed my mother that they would not be able to send an ambulance for at least twenty five minutes. I had to stop my mother from hitting that boy, for she did not understand at that moment that this young man was but a messenger.

We made several more attempts to gain the access of an ambulance but found no such luck. After my mother made some attempt at composing herself, we hailed the first cab we saw and funneled my brother, my father, myself and my brother’s snapped skateboard into the back seat. My mother said to the cab driver “Take us to the nearest hospital, now!” After screaming at the driver for a while, we were on our way to the hospital, not waiting for nonsensical things like stop signs, red lights, or pedestrians.

Once at the hospital, the cab came to an abrupt halt. My mother, as compared to digging for exact change, threw a handful of dollar bills at the driver and led my brother into the building. Although the smell on the waiting room reminded me of the men’s bathroom at my high school, my brother received excellent care. Within three hours, we were out of the building and on our way to catch a Broadway show.

My brother needed to stay up late that night to avoid slipping into a coma, an endeavor in which I joined him. Through the craziness of that day and the horrible hardship my brother went endured; I would not trade it for anything in the world. Mainly because I was not the one who fell skateboarding and had his head cracked open like a melon.