I think I was around 7 or 8 years old. I was playing at my friends house, across the street from where I lived, and it was right after one of the deepest Lower Peninsula Michigan snowfalls I’ve ever seen in my life. We were climbing up onto his garage and jumping off into the snow – poof – and it was no problem, like landing on cotton. It wasn’t really that far of a fall because the snow was so deep.
At one point we decided to make snow angels. We fell back onto the snow, staring up into the cold, gray Michigan sky. The snow was so deep, we were sinking pretty far in as we did this. These angels were deep. And there was something hypnotic about laying there, moving arms and legs, together, apart, together, apart. I drifted off into that place we go when we stare at nothing.
When I came out of my angel shaping reverie, my friend was gone. I wasn’t sure where he went. It was a little confusing. I called his name, wondering if he had somehow gotten buried in the snow. But he didn’t answer. So I went to the back door of his house and knocked. He came to the door, pushed through the door roughly, punched me in the face and went back into his house, closing the door behind him. I tried to ask him why he did it. He wouldn’t answer the door.
This was my first encounter with random violence. I have encountered a lot of it since then. It never gets any easier to deal with.
I went home, crying. My nose was bleeding. Like always, his mom fought with my mom about it and they kept on fighting long after we had made up and were sneaking off to play where they couldn’t see us.
He told me later that I had kicked some snow in his face while I was making my angel. He went into his house to dry off his face and his big brother said something like, “You’re not going to let him get away with doing that to you are you?” So he felt obliged to punch me in the nose. Which is how many people operate well into “adulthood.”
The angels melted. I survived.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010