He worked in the butchers did Dan, came home smelling like meat; blood on his clothes. But he had big ideas ones he’d tell me late at night under cover of darkness. Tucked in our bunk beds we’d recount our day, reinforce our dreams, just brothers stuff.
Me, I didn’t have ambition or drive, in and out of jobs every few months. Mum was good, she always saw me right. Me, the runt, the smallest twin. Two and a half minutes younger than Dan, meant I could play her like a harmonica in a blues band, it came off every time.
Always on the bottom I was, being the eldest he got the top. When we was kids he’d wait till sleep had just come; then call my name softly, he wouldn’t want to wake Mum. “Eth, Eth … Ethen,”he’d call. Drowsily, I’d slide my head out and look up. Dan would spit, filling my ever open gob. He called me gormless, said I was always catching flies. Unbeknown to him, I wondered why I didn’t have the drive, what could I be. It hurt me head wonderin. Everyone else had known what they wanted, had plans and dreams; cept me.
Here I am, a man at nineteen, sleeping in the same bunk as I did at three. In Mums house, in the same street still not knowing what will I be. Life’s about getting my leg over on a Friday night, watching footie with me pals on a Saturday; what more could I want?
When Dan gets mad cos I lost another job and Mum bailed me out again, he calls me lazy, says I’m like him, our Dad. He left when we was nine, went for some fag’s and never came back. That’s the only time we’d fall out, me brother and me, when he’d call me ‘Dad. Lucky I was, privy to Dan’s dreams, honoured to know them, but sometimes I wish they included me.
Dan got a girl and he stopped confiding in me … I missed that. Got himself a second job down the Legion behind the bar; saved up bought his self a car and her a ring. When he left the Butchers ole Jack cried … he said he felt like he was losing a son. No choices left I needed a plan, so Dan taught me all he knew got me up to speed and Jack took me on, he, took a risk for Dan.
Now a butcher that’s me, in and out the fridge all day. I got a way with the ole girls, a bit o’ banter makes them laugh, they lap up my twinkle while weighing their mince, it does nicely for me. Jack knows I’m a chancer a bit of a lad, he pays me partly in produce the rest in cash. We eat well Mum and me. She’s in an out the doc’s, can’t work no more … now it’s down to me.
Dan married his girl, a good un too, they live in a big house on the hill outside the city. He got his dream I knew he would. Dan the man, sharp suit big car his dream paid off. A footballer for the Arsenal, who’d ave thought.
I bask in his glory, take my brown pay pack and treat the boys. We watch the match on a wide screen down the pub, they slap my back and I am proud. Ole Bill has pulled me a few times, kindly let me sleep it off, pissed as a fart after a game; they always let me go … because of Dan’s name.
But I am a butcher by trade looks after me mam, one day soon I’ll get the house. Maybe then I will chuck out the bunks and be able to stop, stop being in and out of other folks dreams.