Growing up, our house was across the street from the Grand View Motel. We lived on the street behind and our home faced the 10 or so windows of the long, low building. Once a week, the owner would mow the grass and sometimes have his young son, Johnny, with him in the cab of the riding lawn tractor.
Mom asked me if I wanted to take Johnny to the “Welcome to Kindergarten” day. ( It was held on a day late in the spring semester when neighborhood Kinders would “sponsor” a child who would be entering kindergarten the following year.) “No way,” was the only explanation I gave when she asked me if I was interested in taking Johnny. But there was a reason that I didn’t want to be his special friend…
You see, the summer before, when I was just 5 (which made Johnny 4ish) he was across the street after his dad had mowed. I went over and we talked. We went up close to the wall of the motel and stood next to the tall arborvitae bushes.
All I remember is that he said, “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.”
“You go first,” I said.
I still can feel the excitement, anticipation, and shock when, after we agreed, he quickly unzipped his shorts and pulled out his penis. My eyes got all fuzzy…not tears, but maybe some kind of anxiety thing. We stood there a moment before I turned around and ran home.
I don’t think I ever spoke or even saw Johnny ever again. Even though we were neighbors, I don’t think he went to Washington School in our neighborhood. Maybe he went to the local parochial school, St. Pat’s.
But over the years I did often see his dad. You see, I would cut through a gas station parking lot and between a house and the hotel to get home. Johnny’s dad, Mr. Emory, would watch for me after school at 3:15. I would get to the motel’s grassy area, look toward the office wing of the building, and make a mad dash.
Often, there would be a roaring complaint of “Heyyyyyyy, don’t trespass on my property!” whenever I did this. I don’t know if I expected the man to chase me, catch me, or tell my parents that I was cutting across his land. But I hated that hollering.
Karma is a bitch.
Even when you’re 5.
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