The Boys Are Back In Town

There’s a pit in my stomach.  It’s there because of a stupid video I watched that I didn’t want to watch but that I had to watch because I felt compelled by the title and hoped that I would see something different from what I did see.

It was stupid, really.

There were some kids, and they wanted to have their fun…so they tried to protest something that is all the rage these days here…and no one supported them, officially, and everyone agrees that they were just silly and young and wanting to provoke…

But I got a pit in my stomach.

The boys look just like the boys I grew up around, the ones who wanted a bit of fun one night when I was fifteen and lost in a new place…so they gathered under my window in our new, not-quite-finished house that my mother hadn’t bought window shades for yet…and when I saw them I turned off the light so I could get ready for bed…and a beam of a flashlight shone in my face as I started to raise my shirt…and I heard laughter…and spent the rest of the night huddled on the floor in tears.

And they also look like the boys who gave my little brother letters to give to me…letters that spelled out the words they never had the courage to say to my face…but words I started to believe…words that damaged me.

And they look just like the other boys who walked the street with their hats and jackets…and met me at night…for this or that…but never had to suffer any consequences…even when I had to leave…because they always pretended…they were righteous.

When I was sixteen I wrote a letter.

I wrote about the boys I saw…and what I thought when I saw them…and how they were pushing me away from everything I thought was true…and that I was confused because they were supposed to represent the epitome of everything ideal in my life.

I got a response to my letter.

A veiled response.

“You bring up important issues facing our society.  I understand your pain and know that this is a big problem.  Unfortunately, it is not the right time to publicly address these issues.”

It is over a decade later.

And there are those boys damning my childhood ideals all over again.

I know these boys might be different.

They might not have that evil streak in them.

They might just be caught up in the excitement of trouble.

But they put a pit in me that is starting to sprout and take root.

I wonder who teaches them right from wrong.

I wonder who tells them it’s ok to scorn people.

I wonder who tells them it’s ok to call people names.

I wonder who sees them smirk and jeer and still loves them.

And I wonder at myself…because I am embarrassed by them.

I want to distance myself from them.

I never want my son to look like them.

I never want to associate myself with them.

And I am pushed even farther away…