Though I am an adult, I still yearn for my mother as I did when I was a very little girl.
It was a chill, rainy day. I waited outside my classroom for the bigger children to call for me. They didn’t come. I was cold. “I know the way,” I softly told the Presence. “It’s not far.” Two blocks from the school, four big boys jumped from behind some shrubs. I had recently seen them quarreling with Gerard and Charles. “That’s Gerard’s sister!” one of them called out. “Let’s get her!” another one answered. Then I was on the ground. Pain throbbed in my arm and back; sharp pain stabbed my knees. A sneaker connected with my side. “Let’s go,” a voice said. “Old man Marcus’ll see us.”
My book and lunch pail were in a puddle. I picked them up and limped to the house still stunned and sobbing. “I want my mother,” I sobbed to the Presence. The woman met me at the door. I stood on the porch as she blocked the entrance. “Where have you been?!” her face was like the sky. “They forgot me so I walked by myself but some big boys beat me up!” I wailed. “You should have gone back to school and reported them to the principal.” I want my mother, I mutely pleaded with my Friend. “Turn around,” she pointed in the other direction. “This instant.” “It’s dark,” I pleaded, “and raining.” “Go back to school and report them to the principal,” she closed the door.
I limped back in the rainy twilight. Discovering a rip in the navy, corduroy skirt I wore, the well gushed out with such force, my chest hurt. “It wasn’t her!” I sobbed to the Presence. “It wasn’t her! It was just that woman!” Something dark caught my attention. I jumped, then peered closer. It was a shadow. “They’re waiting for me,” I insisted to my Friend. “I know they are. They’ll get me again.”
Mr. E gave me a puzzled look as I limped into his office, “Did they forget you?” The well gushed afresh. Between heh-huh hiccups, I began to choke out the story. He lifted me into an armchair and, when I was quiet, dried my tears. I watched his hands as he emptied the contents of a packet into a styrofoam cup and added steaming water from an electric kettle. Handing me the cocoa, he smiled, “Let’s see if we can do something about those cuts and scrapes. Now, this will sting.” He cleaned and bandaged my wounds, then drove me back to the house and walked me to the door. The woman let me in, “Go change into something dry.” Mr. E remained on the porch. As I climbed the stairs, I saw his stormy face, stormier than the woman’s had been. He spoke to her for a long time.
Pain woke me the next morning: the pajama bottoms had stuck to my knees where the bandages had fallen away. The man ripped them from the wounds. “Stop!” I screamed as he began to pull. “Big baby!” he sneered and slapped my pajama clad thigh.