When I was little, I had a brother three years younger than me. Since our age difference was small, as soon as he started walking and talking, we became great playmates. We watched TV programs together, played with Sailor Moon toys together, and went on many imaginary adventures together in our tiny half-dilapidated apartment. Although we got along very well most of the times, there were occasions when our disagreement over a small matter turned into a fight.
In my memory, our fight always happened in the same spot: in front of the small digital piano in our tiny living room. We were sitting on the floor facing each other when my brother picked up the toy that I was playing with and refused to return it to me.
“Give it back!”
I said again, reaching for my toy. My brother responded by hitting me in my face with his hand.
My brother was only two years old, and his slap wasn’t that powerful. It didn’t hurt much. This is nothing, I would think in my head, this is really nothing, I won’t cry. Despite my determination, however, the next moment, tears filled my eyes, and I started crying.
My mother, who was in the kitchen, saw the situation and intervened.
“Sweetie, apologize to your sister.”
Apologizing to me in front of our mother would have been the last thing my brother wanted to do. He had a pride to protect. He remained silent, turning his eyes here and there, trying not to look at me. But my mother insisted.
“Did you say sorry?”
So, my brother said to me rather curtly, without looking at me,
Noticing his tone, my mother said to my brother in a kinder voice.
“Apologize properly, my dear.”
That was when my brother burst into tears. With his wrinkled face looking up at the ceiling, he said,
My mother would then come around to give him a hug and console him.
That was the routine my brother and I repeated throughout that year.