I can't remember if she was making fun of my jeans, or my genes, or perhaps if these homonyms themselves bred our misunderstanding. I do know that I kept telling her to "stop", to "shut up", to "leave me alone." It wasn't the time or the place. We were due on stage in under an hour to perform a 13 year-old's dancing rendition of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's 'Good Vibrations' in the school talent show.
My other friends blurred into the background. Her snarl consumed my vision, her torrent of abuse hit my head like a jackhammer but now only sounded of white noise. She was a lioness, roaring, but with small round glasses like an owl. I was her prey.
Then, life shifted into slow motion and I saw red. The anger and frustration and hurt I felt burst through the holes on my ripped black t-shirt (part of my ensemble) and propelled me forward. I raised my hand and slapped her square across the face. And then came the shower.
Aside from some odd skirmishes on the soccer field this is the closest I ever came to being in a fight. I'm not proud of my actions in that moment and I never was. The said lioness and I later became friendly acquaintances but in the heat of the 5th grade we shared friends and a relationship that was far from smooth sailing. Ahh, teenage girls can be cruel, manipulative, cunning.....when I remember moments like this I wonder how I will protect LLC from all that crap down the line.
I guess like with anything I can only do so much. And obviously I'm getting way ahead of myself. But when I remember moments like this, or other difficult memories I have from growing up I'm struck with my responsibility as a parent to help my little girl grow into resilient character who hopefully won't see red too often.
This post is for the propt 'red' from Josie's Writing Workshop.