Now we’re getting involved in a frightening moment that I had as a child. This was when I first realized that something bad could happen at any time and that no one around you would save you.
Dog With Horns
We came across the fenced in beast midday and far
away from my aunt’s home. But when you’re three, far
away can mean a few blocks, or in this case, acres.
There was only one paved road back to the house with
a dangerous storm drain at the end of it that we
carefully crossed to get here. It covered the entire
width of the pavement with surprisingly wide spaces
that I have yet to see since I was three for flood water to
flow down. The rest of the neighborhood was a maze
of dirt roads and sectioned land.
And I was surprised to have them both still by my side.
Normally, when I’m with my older sister and any other
cousin her age that we happen to be visiting, I’m sure to
be left far behind somewhere screaming and crying
alone. It was the average sick joke that was played
upon me whenever possible. So, I did my best to keep
up and be cool like the ‘big kids’ that I called family
although I hardly understood the difference between
friends and family at that age because everyone seemed
to treat me the same, like a tag along, like a nuisance.
And I was becoming wretched with anxiety as the day
wore on, fearing the worst was about to happen because
I’ve always considered myself to be on alert for such
things ever since I can remember. . .
The other girls noticed him first. I say ‘him’
because he didn’t look nice. Only girl animals look
nice. And I’ve never seen anything like it before. It
was a dog with horns! My sister and cousin could’ve
been a couple of dumb boys right now because they
were both behaving badly. I always know when
someone is being wrong. It’s like a curious intuition of mine.
In that age ‘boys’ meant bad and ‘girls’ meant
nice and pretty. Doesn’t mean I was either. I was
different and I knew it. Or else I would’ve needed to
antagonize this beast like them. Ganging up on
something they didn’t understand who happens to be
fenced in but not for long. . .
The only thrill I ever had as a young girl or else
the only time that I felt like a special person was when
my oldest boy cousin would pick me up in front of
those two girls and dance with me. Whenever I was in
the hallway after the door was shut in my face and the
giggles would go on inside without me, I stepped into
another world, a grown up world to me with no toys but
weights for muscle, music for motivation and posters
that inspired. And they’d always show up the second I
had a smile on my face, standing in the doorway of this
grown up world watching me laugh and dance with
someone who probably hardly noticed them. That’s
when they’d wonder what’s so special about me.
Throughout my life, I’ve had far and few but
nonetheless significant moments of knowing my worth.
Because sometimes, people like him would notice the
real me and I will never forget the recognition of this
But since those moments don’t last, most are
spent like this. I watched the dog with horns butt at the
sticks that those two girls were poking through his
fence and I saw him get really mad. He backed up and
they laughed, believing they had scared him into retreat
but I knew better. I know what it’s like to be backed up
like him. I knew what he was about to do.
Revenge is something that I wish I had to
comfort me everyday. But not necessarily the kind that
I have in mind because it can literally make people see
too much that they’d rather deny and I honestly don’t
want anyone to suffer. I only want to be true to myself.
And the truth is, I’ll take a punch in the face and
apologize if I ever punch yours. Please, don’t ever cry
in front of me because of me, it breaks my heart. I
never meant to hurt you, honest. . .
The beast runs hard and leaps with good effort
over the fence to punch back. We all ran for our lives.
Of course, the girls were far ahead of me,
running faster because they were bigger than me and I was falling
miserably behind. My chubby, baby built body was in
full swing and full tears as the hooves of beast’s feet
sounded closer to my rear. And what I saw when I
looked behind me for a quick and terrified second was
the head of a dog with his horns pointed right at me,
gaining speed. I put my hand behind me so that his
horn touched into the palm of it instead of my delicate
backside. The storm drain was my only way home and
it was the same direction in which the girls ran when
leaving me behind to deal with their mess.
In that moment, I didn’t know what would
happen to me. I still don’t. I always think that I’m
about to be mauled in some vicious attack, whether
emotional or physical. The only thing that keeps me
safe is trying.
Trying to understand, forget, outlast, out
run, never to be outdone, submit, commit, surpass,
overcome, rejoice, remember, and never surrender!
Because even when I’m about to go down, my timeless existence holds strong and lifts me back onto my solid, three year old feet.
I’m forced across the storm drain by the pressure
of the beast’s horn in the palm of my hand. My feet slip
and slide all over the wide spaces but never get stuck.
In fact, the seemingly wide spaces were just big enough
to save me because when I made it across, the pressure
on my hand stopped.
To me, the most believable character of any
story is the creator because in order to tell a good story,
one must believe for a short while and I believe to have
never seen such a creature as I had on that day and
time. The girls stopped running when I was safely
across the drain but still scared and terribly mad for
being left alone, again. They came back for me and it
was my sister who picked me up, just like a big sis
should and carried my crying, exhausted body home.
When I looked over her shoulder, I could see the beast
tugging madly at his front foot that was stuck in the
cracks of the drain and I can remember thinking that his
feet looked nothing like a dog’s.