Growing up, I was often blamed for things that weren't my fault. I think I must have been any easy target. Whenever it happened, all I could do would be stare disbelievingly at my accuser, and protest my innocence. It wasn’t me! It was her. I imagine that it went something like that. Looking back on it now, it seems that this method of declaring my innocence was largely responsible for me getting the blame: it made me look guiltier. There was the incident with the bathroom scales, where my elder sister, Erin, thought it would be funny if we adjusted them so that when Mum stood on them she thought she had gained a lot of weight, and I agreed to help. I started winding the knob on the scales, but at about 40 kilograms, it wouldn’t go any further. After pointing this out to Erin, she took over, claiming she could do it. So the scales were broken; and somehow I ended up with all of the blame.
But the best example would have had to have been this one time when we were at my Nanna’s with my cousin Nathan and his mum. At this time I was about four or five, and Nathan was a few months younger than me. I had never liked him, we’d never gotten along. My brother, Kurt, and Erin always seemed to enjoy playing with him growing up, although they now claim that they don’t like him either. Us kids were playing in the lounge room, while Mum, Nanna and my auntie were in the kitchen. I’m not sure how it arrived to this point, but it was a standoff between Nathan and me. I just remember the episode starting like this:
“Well, I know karate,” claimed Nathan confidently. While I knew that he had been training, I guessed he wasn't any good at it.
“Yeah, well I can pinch,” I stated equally confidently. I knew that I could take him, my pinches were crippling.
“Yeah, she can, her pinches really hurt,” added Erin and Kurt, sounding uneasy.
“But I know karate,” my cousin repeated.
“She pinches really hard,” they stressed. Then he attacked. He let out a call that sounded like he had learnt on TV, “Hee-ya!” as he karate-chopped my arm. I let him hit me. Then I stepped aside, grabbed his arm and pinched it, hard. The matriarchs rushed into the room, responding to his crying. My auntie rushed straight to her injured son, who was sobbing loudly while nursing his arm, “She pinched me!”
I was horrified at this turn of events. How hadn’t I seen this coming? I had won, and then in my moment of glory in swept these women to punish me. I claimed my innocence, to no avail; I couldn’t deny that I had pinched him, even though I could try to stress how much he had deserved it. It was only in the car ride home that I was properly able to explain to Mum without any chastising as to what had actually happened. And then she laughed: she had never liked the kid either.