My little brother ruins everything. Mr. Hammond, my fifth-grade teacher, says that’s “hi-per-bowl-ee,” but what does he know? I’m pretty sure he made up that word cuz I couldn’t find it anywhere in the dictionary. In any case, if you ever met Tommy, you’d have no choice but to agree. He’s made life miserable since I knew how to pronounce the word “brother.”
What? You don’t believe me? Well, thanks to him, I’ve got asthma. No kidding. I have a respiratory disease that’ll affect me the rest of my life because my little brother ruins everything.
It all goes back to a family trip from four years ago. My parents took us all to a farm where some of my mom’s distant cousins live. I don’t really know why we went. There wasn’t enough time to get to know anyone, and there wasn’t anything fun to do there aside from eating at a huge barbeque. My parents wouldn’t even let me climb on the tractors in the barn. Now that I look back on that, though, they probably made the right call for a seven-year-old.
Anyway, we arrived at this farm, and this family had a bunch of cats roaming around. And I don’t mean that, like, twenty cats live there. Hundreds! Literally. I’m not even joking. Hundreds of cats. You could barely step anywhere without having to avoid tripping over one.
I had not grown up with a whole lot of cats. Before now, my parents had owned one, but they got rid of it shortly after my birth. Something about the cat getting jealous of the attention my parents gave me, I think. But me, my sister, and little brother (who ruins everything) wanted to handle each of these cats. I told my parents how it would be nice if we could take one home.
Cousin Obediah overheard that comment and told my parents that they could take as many cats as they wanted. I looked at my sister, Hannah, and we both grinned. And I could see the same look on my parents’ faces. We all had the same thought in mind.
For the rest of that day-long visit, Hannah and I tried to identify the best cat to take home. It did not even occur to me that we might not take one home. It was going to happen, and I knew it. But then we almost lost that dream. Thanks to my little brother who, as you know, ruins everything.
My dad picked out a beautiful gray, short-haired tabby kitten. She had sharp eyes and an athletic body. Her every movement displayed grace and dignity just as a cat ought to. My mom, Hannah, and I loved her right away. But who should set an obstacle in our path but Tommy? Of course. Because he ruins everything. He wanted to bring home this black-and-white long-haired mangy mutt. Who knows why?
Tommy said, “If we don’t get this cat, I don’t want any cats.”
I wanted my parents to tell my little wart of a brother to suck it up and deal with it. But mom and dad conferenced and decided to take both home with us.
Now, four years later, we have to say goodbye to both of our cats. I started having wheezing attacks last weekend. I keep struggling to breathe. The doctor says I have asthma, and the cats need to go. It seems their dander aggravates my situation. And which cat produces the most dander? Why the dumb long-haired cat my brother wanted! So now we have no cats because my little brother ruins everything.