17 May 2010

my mother

When I was six or seven years old and in primary school about five of us used to meet in the mornings to cycle to school together. Well, this was in the "good old days" when parents just opened the front doors and let their kids head off into the day.
At the school the bicycles were parked on racks under a large corrugated sheet roof. One morning someone's bicycle got damaged, nothing dramatic but obviously intentionally. It quickly became a serious issue around school and in class. We were all grilled and I told the teacher that I saw soandso do it. Did I see it myself? Did someone tell me? Did I imagine it? I cannot say. But I still remember the strong feeling of being convinced that I did the right thing.

Back home in the afternoon, there were phone calls. My mother was back and forth calling me inside, asking me again and again. What did I say, what did I see and how angry this other kid's mother was at me because I clearly was lying. This went on well into the evening. My father could not be bothered to get involved, while at this stage several mothers had phoned, called to the house in person and generally cornered my mother who in turn got more and more mad at me for messing things up with the neighbourhood.

At some stage right before bed time I could not stand it any longer and broke down sobbing and told her that maybe I did not see it after all? She was so relieved she dropped the towel she was using to dry my little brother and ran to the phone to call off the posse getting ready to march on our house.

The next day in the school yard at break time the boy I maybe had seen damaging the bicycle threw a stone in my face. My mother was mad once again because she had to take me in the car to get my glasses fixed.

The small scar next to my right eye took several years to heal.

No comments: