EARLIER I SAID MY DREAMS BECAME FLESH. After the pink sweater incident, I couldn’t shake these girls. Either they or their mother were always hanging around. Bear in mind, that while all of this was happening, I was all of eleven going on twelve of age trying to stay out of the path of these experienced and practicing sexual predators.
One of the girls was tall, maybe five-foot seven with short hair and dark brown skin. And she was mean – junkyard dog mean. But what I remember most about her, was her mouth. To me, it was a giant black hole with sharp teeth that was always open, screaming at me.
One day after spending the school day tormenting me, (they’d used the routine of someone hiding outside under my homeroom window calling my name. And if that weren’t bad enough, each time I had to use the restroom, they were in there waiting.) they for whatever reason decided to keep the torture going and got on the school bus that I rode home. That’s right, the mean one, her sister, and get this, their brother, all got on the same bus with me. They had never done that before. Don’t forget, that I lived out in rural, and I do mean rural Alabama. At that time, there were no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, motels, McDonalds, neighborhood stores, or anything other than peoples’ homes out where I lived. And when I got off the bus, they got off the bus.
All three of them trailed along behind me. Fearing more torment, I took off running. I ran ahead of my younger sister, my little brother, Stella, Hannah, Virginia, and her sisters and brothers. I had put a small group of children between me and my tormentors. Again, I didn’t see the trap until I was in it. Now, I was out in front of everyone and feeling a false sense of security – that is until I looked back.
I remember the older one, the mean one, had this smile on her face like a ravenous animal that has just spotted its dinner. I guess she was secretly gloating over what they were about to do — hand me my first lesson in public humiliation.
All of a sudden, they started, screaming, like they did on the playground. “Look at Sis. Old fat ugly Sis.” Everyone laughed at that. Just as we were about to pass the Williams’ house, the mean one pointed her finger at me and screamed at the top of her lungs. “Look at Sis! Her slip is falling off!” More laughter.
To my shock and amazement, my slip actually fell off. I was humiliated. I know I must have turned several shades of red before grabbing my skip up off the ground and running the rest of the way home. Once inside, I hid in the closet under some clothes.
Note: Even during the numerous rewrites of this book, I still can’t bring to mind any other families, except the ones named, who lived within walking distance of my family. So, where were these kids going? Was there an adult waiting to drive them back home? Was there really some grown ass person teaching, aiding, and abetting their children in how to stalk?
The incident with my slip, I chalked up to my stupidity for not having pinned the slip on tighter.