Last night, driving home from work, I remembered something that had laid hidden and quite dormant in the dark recesses of my mind since I was younger, much younger. The mind is a wonderful thing. It protects you from stuff that has the potential to really screw you up permanently. What, you ask, could be such a big deal that you didn't remember it till last night? A friend of my folks that, as a young girl(10,11,12 or so), I couldn't stand to be around.
That sounds like not such a big deal, right? Wrong. Mr. B and his wife were good card-playing, Saturday night get-together, church member friends of my folks, so, it was a huge problem for me. Even if I had wanted to, I couldn't avoid him entirely. Wherever the folks went for fun, all of us went too. For several years, the Bs and my folks were steadfast friends and did lots of stuff together - card parties, church outings, cookouts - you know, the stuff all suburbanites did back in the late 50s and early 60s. The rest of the crowd the folks hung out with were great people. All of us loved them like family members. Mrs. B was okay, but Mr. B and his son were to be avoided at all costs. Mr. B was creepy, at best, and his son was becoming a miniature version of him. The mere thought of them makes my skin crawl to this day.
One particular evening at the Bs popped into my head while driving home last night. The one my mind protected me from remembering. It was a summer night cookout and card party combo deal. So, that meant there were quite a few kids around besides those in the B's family. About 10 or 12 of us plus theirs. Playing lawn darts, hide and seek, badminton, croquet, you know, typical kid fun for the time. We hooted, hollered, ran, played hard, had a great time with one another until it got dark and we were all called to come inside and go upstairs and watch tv with the Bs kids. Again, not a big deal. Until you get to the part where Mr. B scooped me up and tried to carry me into the house. It wasn't just that he scared the crap out of me coming up from behind me and grabbing me - we kids had been doing that to one a another the whole time we were playing and he was "just doing what the kids were doing." It was that he put his arm over one of my shoulders and grabbed me up between my legs and held me extremely tight against his body to carry me toward the house. That creeped me out deluxe and then some. Especially when the thoughts and pictures in his mind came through to me as clear as day! YUCK!!!! EWWWWWW!!!!! GROSS!!!!! I squirmed and wiggled and kicked and screamed "Let go of me!" as loud as I could. Caught him in the groin with me feet - YEA!!! He dropped me like a hot rock and I ran into the house, upstairs to the bedroom where the tv was and wrapped myself in a blanket so tight you'd have thought it was my second skin. Even the Bs son didn't tease or torment me that night like he usually did. I think he thought I might kick him too.
Mom and Dad were up the stairs like a shot to find out what my "problem" was that I had kicked Mr. B in the nuts when he was just trying to 'play with us kids and hurry us up at the same time.' I told them how he had grabbed me up, and, for once, they didn't tell me that I was wrong to do something to stand up for myself. They told me to stay upstairs and watch the movie and try to get as calm as I could and everything would be okay. They promised. It would be okay, they promised. About an hour later, one of the other mom's called upstairs for all of us kids to come downstairs, we were all going outside to roast marshmallows and make s'mores over the grill. Down the stairs we trudged and out into the backyard to get all sugared up on marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Yum. Down I went in the blanket all wrapped up tight like a miniature mummy. When I was asked by one of the other parents why I was in a wrapped so tight in a blanket on a hot summer's night, Mom and Dad, to their everlasting credit answered for me. "She's just shy. When CB grabbed her up to bring her in the house, it scared her too much and now she's wrapped up like a cocoon sort of like a protective covering. She's just shy." What they didn't say, and what I distinctly remember hearing, was that their minds were saying things like "That perverted son of a b@#$% touched our daughter in the wrong place. He scared the crap out of her to get his jollies. I'd like to skin him alive and feed him to the vultures!" Those thoughts that they had were one of the greatest comforts I ever drew from my ability to hear thoughts - even though I wasn't supposed to be using it any more. I knew they loved me and wanted to protect me from Mr. B. That was all that mattered. They promised that everything would be okay. Their thoughts were proof to me that it would be.
We, as a family, didn't spend much more time with the Bs after that. The folks would play cards, and go for "grown-ups only" cookouts, but, we kids didn't see much of them after that at all. Except in church, where, thankfully we didn't have to be near Mr. B or that weird son of his. I always felt sorry for Mrs. B and her daughter after that night having to live with not just one young creepy guy, but, another one who was older, stronger and infinitely more gross, disgusting and creepier than his son.
So, what do I want you, dear reader, to take away from this odd story? Just this. Sometimes a shy kid isn't a shy kid just because he or she is socially awkward. Sometimes they are shy because they can feel the emotions of certain people and hear their thoughts. That creeps them out and makes them not want to be near those folks. That's what I'd like you to take away from this story. Socially awkward is one thing. Avoiding creepy adults is another. Learn to tell the difference for the sake of the young ones around you that you care about. Even if you don't believe in "paranormal", "esp", "clairvoyance" and all that other "weird stuff", listen when the young one tells you that So&So is weird or creepy. It might just be that she smells of garlic and dog urine, or, it could be that the young one truly understands and knows more than you do. "She's just shy," was my folks polite way of dealing with the situation all those years ago. My mind protected me, for whatever reason, till last night driving home when I was talking to a friend about taking out all my mental garbage so I'd have room to progress and grow. I'm hoping that somewhere, someone reading will understand what I'm trying to say here, and use it to protect the lovely young ones in her or his own life.