A perk to being at home: having all your notebooks within reach. And trust me, I have a lot of notebooks. Today after church I found one that I started using in 2010 (five years ago oh my goodness…) and started to read what I wrote.
And let me say: I’m impressed. I had story ideas written everywhere and poems and snippets of what happened during the day written very concisely and well. And my story ideas weren’t cheap or underdeveloped; if anything, they were ready for their time to shine, to finally be given a chance to have their story be told. I don’t know if I’ll ever rightfully give my sketches a full story, but we’ll see. Who knows what’ll happen over the summer?
This writing was from Secondary 5 (grade 11). As I read about it, I remembered the scene as if it was just earlier today: the boys in my class were participating in that barbarian game called tennis where people slap each other’s hands viciously until one gives up. I still remember how horrified I was of the entire affair…
I didn’t actually go up to my classmate and get them ice, either. I just sat there shocked and wanting to help somehow but held back by invisible cords of worry that it would be taken the wrong way. Ahaha, high school mindsets though.
His dark blue-green eyes stared back defiantly, but hiding in their shadows, fear glistened under his layers of attempts to keep his cool. It was almost as if he had shoved his fear into a box and locked it up in a dark room, never be to reopened. Yet now, it had resurfaced, perhaps without his knowing. Maybe others couldn’t see it. Maybe they didn’t care.
But to me, that sliver of fear creeping into his gaze was like a beacon of light and hope. Because for me, it was a sign that he was human. And I had no reason to be afraid.
I stepped towards him and said in a firm voice, “No, you are not okay. Give me your hands.”
Reluctantly, he unfolded his tightly clasped hands and showed them to me. There were bright red, with the beginnings of ugly bruises starting to show. And they looked raw. I gently took his hands and ran a finger over his welts. He hissed quietly, in pain. My concern rose higher.
“I am going to get you some ice,” I announced firmly.
“I don’t need it-I’ll just run my hands under cold water,” he said through clenched teeth.
I glared back and him and said in my most serious and authoritative tone, “No, you will not. You will stay here and wait while I get ice. Got it? Good.”
He opened his mouth to complain but I shot him my don’t-even-try-to-argue look and he shut his mouth. He slid down to the floor and broke his gaze to study the ground.
He looked so broken and lonely. And the fact that he felt that he needed to prove his masculinity and power in such a cruel, violent way concerned me and indicated his insecurity. I longed to hug him and tell him that he was fine the way he was and didn’t need to affirm it in any way. But I didn’t. I…couldn’t So I did what I said I’d do-got some ice, let him put it on his hands, and simply sat next to him.
Without a word. Even though there was so much I wanted to say.