I didn’t cross the line until two years after the Tackle, but I think I have to start with it. It was the high water mark of my high school experience, the turning point of how my sister and I viewed each other, and a really great hit, from a technical perspective.
It was after school at the very start of my senior year. I was dicking around with my friends, just hanging around at my car in the parking lot. We were talking about the weed we were going to smoke later and telling stupid jokes. Dumb teenager shit. That changed when Stevie ran up to me.
Stevie was one of my little sister’s best friends. He was a super-nerd, like her. And like her, I had a lot of respect for him. I mean, he was tiny but pretty brave all things considered, and he treated my sister with respect when a lot of dudes just talked over her. Today he looked scared and of breath. I was immediately worried.
“Ja…Jamie…Bryan Harrison…behind the wall…” was all he got out, pointing in the direction of the short brick wall that fenced off school property from the public park next door. I could see Bryan’s head but not my sister’s. That wasn’t a surprise as she was a lot shorter than him. It was a popular place for people to smoke and do mischief. I knew Bryan. I immediately thought of a few things that he could be doing, none of them good. I started sprinting around the wall.
When I turned the corner I could see a small circle of people standing around, not doing anything. I was angry then but later I didn’t blame them. Most if not all of them were smaller than Bryan. Shit, everyone was smaller than him. It didn’t matter to me though. I cared more about my sister than…well, anyone I guess. Certainly, more than my own well being.
I could see that two of her friends (Greg and Julian) were standing there shouting, but the lackeys were holding them back, which didn’t cost them a lot of effort. Bless them for trying. I don’t remember the lackey’s names and I’m not sure I ever knew them. What bothered me was that they had looks of concern on their faces. Like what Bryan was doing had offended even their degenerate consciences. I sped up.
He should have seen me coming. I was pissed as hell and moving like a freight train. He was too focused on trying to peel back my little sister’s shirt from where he had just torn it.
He was a few inches taller than me and definitely stronger. But it turns out if you’re moving fast enough and don’t care if you hurt yourself, you can take pretty much anyone out. I performed a picture perfect shoulder tackle, blindsiding him with terrific force. We hit the ground together, but only I was expecting the impact. So I was swinging already and he still didn’t know what was going on. The look of surprise on his face as my fist hit him the first time was priceless. I don’t remember a lot of the rest of the fight. I know that I landed a few more punches before a tall guy from the football team pulled me off of him. I remember that he was laughing and I thought that was strange but mostly I was still too mad and shouting curses at Bryan to care.
My little sister looked at me, shocked at first, then grateful, then worried. She had already made the connection that I would get in trouble. She was a lot smarter than I was. Still is. I rolled my eyes at her dramatically, letting her know what I thought of that bullshit. She smiled a little at that. That made it all worthwhile.
She had some bad dreams for a while but bounced back remarkably quickly. Mom was great and supportive and took her to someone to talk to right away.
My parents told me that fighting was bad except for very unusual occasions like this, but Mom hugged me and Dad gave me a beer and then they bought me a game system. They were both pacifists more or less so I don’t think they could have brought themselves to actually say “Good job kicking his ass” but I knew that they were proud of me and that was enough.
I was threatened with suspension. But it turns out that everyone hated Bryan, so lots of people stepped forward and told the staff that he was basically trying to molest my sister. That got me downgraded to detention. I was ok with that, but my Dad went to the superintendent of the district and said:
“So. If my son hadn’t been there, who, specifically, would have stopped that sexual predator from raping my daughter?”
The next day, as if by magic, I was released from detention with a Stern Warning about Proper Behavior and Reporting Crimes to the Authorities. I nodded and agreed and thanked the principal and then left his office before I started laughing. I love my Dad.
I was worried about Bryan retaliating but he was arrested for what he had done and then other girls started coming forward. He was a juvenile but he didn’t get out till he was an adult. Last I heard he was only on the outside for about a month before being arrested for trying to force a kid into his van. So this is where he exits our story.
So. My one brave act, everyone ends up ok. Happy ending. Story over. Roll credits. pendik escort Everyone go home.
No. This was, as it turned out, just the prelude. The main performance was yet to come.
The Tackle led me to Irwin. And without him being in my life the, uh, more socially unacceptable elements of this story would never have happened.
Although I’d of course seen him around, we never really spoke until about a week later. It was lunch and I was eating at the cafeteria when someone sat down across from me. It was the kid who pulled me off of Bryan. He was tall and lanky and smiling. He just sat there for a moment, and then laughed.
“What?” I said, curious but not annoyed. He’s honestly good-natured enough that its almost impossible to be annoyed with him.
“I was just thinking about when you hit Bryan again. Whenever I do I end up laughing. It was so beautiful. The best tackle I’ve ever seen, really. Oh, I’m Irwin, by the way.”
I smiled despite myself.
“That bastard deserves worse than a beat down,” I said, grimly.
“He does,” Irwin said, still smiling, “but for now he’s out of the picture, and a lot of girls and a few boys have you to thank. I really didn’t see it coming either. You probably didn’t notice me at first, being as focused as you were, but I was in that circle of gawkers. I had been walking towards Bryan, slowly. I knew that I’d get hurt if I interfered. I’d fight, sure, but it was inevitable. I just kept telling myself that I couldn’t watch this happen and not do anything.”
I smiled again, wider this time.
“That makes me feel a little better about humanity.”
“Well, I still don’t know if I really had the balls for it. I could still have backed down. Right when I was reaching the point of no return I saw a blur go past me at about a hundred miles an hour. Next thing I knew Bryan was on the ground, bleeding, and you were beating the shit out of him. If the yearbook committee asks me what the best part of Senior year was for me, I’m gonna tell them about that tackle.” He laughed again. It was infectious and I joined him.
“Seriously though, you should try out for the team. Our secondary is weak, you could easily walk on as like a free safety or something. I play corner, I know talent.”
I’d never even considered trying out for the team. I was a laid-back guy, not really into sports, and my parents were both basically ex-hippies. Not the sort to have football around. But Irwin’s words had a certain appeal to me.
“Yeah, ok. I’ll talk to the coach. You owe me when he laughs me off the field though.”
“Never happen. He already knows about your skills, I made sure of it. We’ll talk more after your first practice.”
I spoke to the coach that afternoon, and to my surprise, he signed me up right away. The secondary was really weak. The current safeties were both sophomores and not really big enough to do the job well despite their speed.
Irwin introduced me around, showed me the ropes. He also explained, in great detail, how much pussy I was going to be drowning in just from being on the team. He was being half-truthful, but he did it in a hilariously over-the-top fashion. He was dating Trina, who I had a crush on, but there was no element of competition or jealousy. I was more of a slut than him, so I rotated through a bunch of on-again/off-again booty calls. ‘No attachments, no problems’ was my motto.
He gave good advice about women, life choices, everything, really. I was a good listener and friend, always had his back, always ready to help. On the field, he was the master of interceptions and I became the secondary’s best tackler. In short, we became best friends. We still are.
I don’t regret any part of my relationship with Irwin, but it would have some pretty fateful consequences later on.
Am I Attractive?
About a month after the incident, life had largely returned to normal. My parents didn’t really approve of me playing football, but this was before the whole concussion thing was a big deal and I was really only going to be on the field for a single year. To their surprise, they enjoyed coming to the games. Even Jamie went, which was nice of her. If there was anyone less interested in football than she was, I’d never met them.
Now would be a good time to talk a little about Jamie, my little sister. She was and is the smartest person I know. She’d say I was biased but its really just the truth. In my senior year of high-school I was unashamed that she was helping me with my homework regularly in math and science, and even editing my essays. She was only a sophomore but she was taking AP courses and hit the honor roll every semester.
Jamie was a nerd. Again, I don’t say this with any negative connotations. Maybe if I was in a typical family it would have been an issue, I dunno, but our parents just let us be ourselves. So I was a laid back popular guy with decent grades and she was a nerdy genius. She hung with a crew maltepe escort of fellow nerds (Greg, Stevie, and Julian) who were and are still friends. She loved a lot of the typical stuff you’d expect: Star Trek, Dungeons & Dragons (she was the regular DM for her group), Doctor Who, Anime, and Comic Books (but only indie titles). She never let gender roles hold her to anything she wasn’t interested in. About the only completely stereotypical “girl interest” that she participated in was a huge and well-read collection of “Shoujo Manga” which basically amounted to extremely dramatic romance stories targeted at teen girls.
She would frequently share her thoughts on all of these subjects, talking about fan-theories, bouncing ideas for dungeons off of me, asking me for costume advice. She knew it wasn’t my thing but I had no problems participating. I even went to a couple of cons with her and had fun. Her passions were part of what made her so wonderful. For her part, if I wanted to see an action movie or go for a hike or something, she joined in too, even if she wasn’t interested or in the best of shape. We were good friends.
Where I managed to be a good brother to her though was in the fields of protection (as you have seen) and advice. She had real problems relating to some people. Boys in high school are already jerks, but if she had to talk to one who was even remotely attractive she got super-shy and really had no idea how to flirt. On top of that, she was convinced that she was the least appealing girl in her class. It was a self-esteem problem which went back to being bullied back in elementary school by people like Bryan.
So, like I said, it was about a month after the incident. The school had stopped talking about it and things were back to normal, for the most part. I was very grateful that Jamie seemed to be less anxious. I knew that she would have to deal with some trauma from it for a long time but I hoped that most of it had faded. On more than one night she’d come into my room after a really bad nightmare that she refused to talk about. I let her sleep in my bed. It was the only thing I could do for her and no, it wasn’t weird because I’d just sleep on the floor. She felt protected having her big brother in the room and that was enough for me.
On that day I was doing calc homework and had asked her for help earlier so I was expecting her at some point. She was never exactly the most punctual girl so typically she’d just wander in. We had an open door policy where nobody had to knock unless the door was closed. Privacy was strictly enforced though. It was not unusual for us to study together whether one of us was helping the other or not, in either of our rooms. Most of the time with the doors opened, but if we needed to concentrate or we ended up talking about unrelated gossip or whatever we might close the door. No biggie because nobody was misbehaving. Mom and Dad were so used to it they never really bothered to check up on us. I guess I should be thanking God for that because of what happened later, but for now, it wasn’t even something we thought of.
On this day she came in, carrying her notebook and calculator, but she closed the door behind her before sitting on my bed. That really wasn’t necessary for studying, so I expected something like what she said next.
“Bro, can I ask you something?”
She said it in kind of a sad and resigned way. If there was anything that triggered my protectiveness, it was that voice. I immediately stopped working, stood up from my desk and sat next to her.
“What’s up, tiny?”
Tiny had been my name for her since she was literally tiny, around age five. No one else anywhere could get away with comments about her height. She liked being tiny compared to me.
“Do you…do you think I’m attractive?”
This surprised me a bit. Like I said earlier, I knew about her self-esteem issues but she’d never addressed this kind of question so directly to me before. The fact was that as of sophomore year, she was cute. Really cute. She was short, kind of petite, with shoulder-length blonde hair that she kept simple. Her glasses (because of course she had to wear glasses) were not old-fashioned but stylish. They perfectly framed her brown eyes and made them look bigger. She learned how to do her makeup from youtube, largely for the purposes of cosplay, but she was an expert and the same skills applied. This is uncomfortable for me to talk about given her age and the fact that she was my sister, but I think its relevant. She was slender as a lot of teen girls were, but even then she had curves. I could tell that the boys her age noticed, even though she didn’t really dress to emphasize them.
I mean, had I not been her brother, I’d have been into her at least a little. That’s really part of the problem. But I’m getting ahead of myself. At this moment, I wasn’t prepared to tell my sister that she was kind of hot. Maybe I just should have, but I didn’t. I went with safe and non-specific.
“Yes. You are super-cute. For real.”
She kartal escort smiled a little.
“Yeah but you have to say that. You’re my big brother. Its like part of the deal.”
“No, I don’t. I’d tell you if you were an uggo. I’d be all like ‘Yes, you are the tiniest of uggos'”
She laughed, which was great to hear. But she turned serious again.
“Well…why are no boys interested in me?”
“Are we talking about all boys? Because I could probably find some who are. Or specific boys?”
The thing about Jamie was she was a romantic for sure. She had crushes like other people had tic-tacs: A handful all at once.
“Well…like Stevie. I…I’ve always kinda liked him. And we hang out all the time, but he doesn’t even check me out!”
“Honey, Stevie never checks you out because he’s too busy checking me out. He’s like the gayest kid I know. Not that I care, its an ego boost, but you can’t really use him as a yardstick for your attractiveness.”
Her eyes got big. I could see that it never crossed her mind. She was close to Stevie, I’m sure that they’d had numerous heart-to-heart conversations about a variety of topics, but she still had trouble reading him.
“Look. I desperately need help with this problem and you’re super cute and you probably need to hook up Stevie with someone before he gets desperate and starts following strange men to their cars.”
She finally burst out laughing and I joined her. When she was done she helped me with my homework. All was well.
I still wonder what would have happened if I had just been a little more truthful and honestly laid out the ways in which she was genuinely attractive to me, specifically. Maybe it would have made things weirder, or maybe it would have prevented some other things. No way to know, I guess.
Every now and then over the next two years she’d come and ask me a similar question, or about why a given boy didn’t like her the way she liked him. She had some seriously bad luck in that she’d fall for boys who were unavailable for a variety of reasons, but even when I told her that a boy probably did like her, she’d be too nervous to approach him or even respond if he started talking to her.
I ended up holding her a lot while she cried when these boys she liked broke her heart by accident by going out with other girls. I felt bad for her, but I also knew that her situation wasn’t that unusual, really. I told her what I thought was the truth: High School would end. College would be better. Wait, you’ll see.
I mean, it was true for me so it would have to be true for her, right?`
Two Years Later
Time passed. Irwin and I graduated. He got a football scholarship to the local city college. I walked on as safety again, but I was mostly a backup. We were in college. The professors mostly treated us like adults, the classes were more interesting, the girls were exponentially hotter, and things were generally looking up.
Irwin surprised everyone and went pre-law, although he confessed that the humanities interested him more, his major kept his dad off of his back. I pursued being an athletic trainer for college sports, which in and of itself was no joke and would require a master’s degree if I wanted to get anywhere with it. Trina followed Irwin, but the college also had solid biology and art programs, which was what she wanted to pursue. They were also getting more serious, which I think surprised both of them.
Irwin and Trina lived on campus, but I needed to save money so I lived at home. It was kind of a pain but was common, and my parents gave me plenty of privacy and never bothered me when I came home stoned at 4 am. I got a job doing all kinds of stuff at the university gym, and the money I saved by not needing to pay rent allowed me to go on trips with a variety of attractive women for pretty much the entire summer after freshman year. Oh yeah, I was even more successful in college, where my laid-back attitude and complete lack of aggressive masculinity played well with mature young women who were tired of being treated like objects or something you put nice behavior in and expected sex out of.
In fact, Trina had started calling me a slut and while Irwin defended me (as a good bestie should) he privately asked me if I was ever going to actually date anyone. Well, I’d tell him, it’s not like I’m lying to these girls. I’d always explain exactly what kind of relationship we’d have: it would be fun, we’d go to interesting places, we’d have sex and she’d have orgasms. Besides, I didn’t really have any emotional connection with any of them beyond friendship.
My entire first year was a bit of a blur, being busy or getting busy most of the time. The summer was also pretty busy. I was either working for cash or spending that cash on trips with various girls. At the start of my sophomore year in college I was starting to tire out a bit. Constantly being out late, playing football (even as a second stringer) and working was running me ragged. I finally decided I had to quit football. I was doing it for fun and it wasn’t anymore, plus I had a minor ankle injury that I was worried might impact other areas of my life. Fall break found me doing something that I rarely did: staying at home and resting.