I was nine years old, on my way to Brownies (the group you attend before you can become a Girl Guide), proudly wearing my little brown dress with the white-and-orange scarf and the jaunty little brown beret. I dearly loved that uniform. And I loved being part of something: this was the first official ‘club’ that I had ever joined and I could not have been more delighted.
The group met once a week in the basement of a local church no more than a kilometer away. Back in those days, it was unheard of for parents to drive their children such a short distance, and it would certainly not have occurred to me to ask. And so, I was walking, likely deep in a daydream, and probably singing a song under my breath, as usual paying very little attention to the world past the tips of my fingers.
That changed when two teenaged boys suddenly stepped out on the sidewalk in front of me. I know now that they could not have been much more than 13 or 14 but at the time, they looked like adults to me. “Have you ever been fu _ _ed?” demanded one of the boys.
“What’s that mean?” I quavered.
“This,” he stated triumphantly, as he punched me – hard – in the stomach. I have no recollection of what happened after that: my next memory is of being home, crying in my father’s arms.
Years later, I saw the boy who hit me, working at a local movie theatre. He did not appear to recognise me and I was in no hurry to remind him. By that time, I understood the word he had used and I knew that I had gotten off very easy.
My sister called me a few years ago to tell me that he had passed away. I did try to summon up a charitable thought, but found instead that I could feel absolutely nothing at all…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com