Sunday, January 25, 2015

THE SUNDAY SERIES: Sunday No. 3 (January 25, 2015)

Sunday No. 3

I don’t fully understand how on one Sunday, Mary could watch her son Jesus being nailed to a cross.  It is the source of pain through duty, which in turns can become a pleasure.  Faith is important, and even important to fight for the vision, but still, one would think they could hustle themselves out of this situation.   If not a direct bribe, then surely charm could have worked.  When I was a child of nine or ten years old I liked this girl at school. She's ‘sort’ of admired my personality, in that she could spend numerous hours on the telephone with me.  She was the first girl I have ever talked to on the telephone, that was my age, and the conversation went longer than the average.  Usually when I was on the telephone, it was just to answer the phone and direct the caller to either my dad or mother.  Here, she called me directly to talk.   I don’t know when eros enters the picture, but without a doubt, being nine or ten, the phone calls were erotically charged.   It wasn’t penis into vagina charge, but more coming out of the pores of our skin as well as our brains.  We were connected, but it was mostly a playtime version of phone sex, without the physical conclusion or release of that conversation.   She would play games with me. For instance she would spell out to me: I.L.O.V.E.Y.O.U. By the time she got to the V. I almost lost it on my end of the line.  I told her that she was spelling too fast, and if she can do it slower.  She did: I…L…O…V and so forth. 

We never saw each other outside of the school.  Our physical relationship was totally on the playground. I have no memory of sharing an actual class with her, and I don’t remember how we first met.  I’m very shy with girls, and especially as a child.  So it makes sense to me that she must have approached me on the school playground.   My mom would make me a bag lunch, and my pal and I often sat together and shared our lunches.   I think she was latina, and the food she brought were Mexican or classic Mexican-American food.   Mine was something out of “Father Knows Best. ” Usually a sandwich, apple and milk or juice in a container.  I was very much devoted to my lunch box, which showed images from the TV show “Man From U.N.C.L.E.  It was my favorite show, and besides the lunch box, I also had a Man From U.N.C.L.E. Spy kit, which consisted a membership card (showing that I’m a member of U.N.C.L.E.) and a plastic gun that can turn into a machine gun.  In my opinion, my name Tosh Berman, was just as exotic as Napoleon Solo.  

One day, I was flirting with her on the school playground.  At that age it is hard to convey how you feel about someone else, when in fact, you are not really clear about your yearnings.  In many ways, I yearned for this girl, without understanding why I felt that way.   She was a perfect package of beauty, niceness and a touch of wickedness.  Cruelty is sometimes a medium of expressing oneself.  I held her hand once or maybe twice.  It was like an electric current hitting my whole body.   Being so vulnerable, and especially in a school setting, with all our peers walking by and noticing us.  Her friends would tease us, and this I can see clearly bothered her.  Instead of being defiant to her school friends, she backed away from me.  That was painful, yet we still communicated, but the nature of our relationship changed. 

When time, things and people change and you feel the pavement under your foot turn into quicksand, you become desperate.  When you get used to being alone, and for a brief series of moments you get the attention that you crave… and then seeing or more likely feel it slipping away, is a pretty horrible existence.  Especially for a small boy.   I was nibbling on an oatmeal cookie that I got from home, in fact, my mom baked it.  I wasn’t hungry, and I was thinking maybe I could re-charge my relationship with her, if I offered half of my cookie, or damn it, just give her the whole cookie.  I went up to her and she was surrounded by her friends, who clearly didn’t want me around.   To be surrounded by a group of people who clearly didn’t like you, was like being stoned in public.  I could never figure out why they dislike me, except maybe for my shyness, and the feeling that I couldn’t add anything to this social group.  Also my hair was quite long, and most of the boys either had crew-cuts or very short haircuts.  Not only was I called a girl by these fellow students, but also my teacher called me one as well when we were alone one time.  I was walking in the hallway after getting some water from the drinking fountain, and walking towards me on the other side of the hall was the teacher.  As we passed each other, he said “girl.” He didn’t even look at me, when he said it, and he just walked on by.   I didn’t feel like a girl. Nor did I feel I looked like a girl.  I like girls, and I want them to like me, but I couldn’t understand why something so simple had to be so complicated.  

Nevertheless feeling shamed in front of her social group, I threw my oatmeal cookie in her face. I told her “it’s for you.” Seconds after that action that to this day fills me with shame. One of the boys in her group came upon me and pushed me to the ground.  As I tried to get up, he hit me in the face.  Again, I was on the ground, and he just kept pushing me down with his foot.  The girl was crying, which made me felt worse than being humiliated in front of the group.  The next thing I remember is the teacher who called me a “girl,” coming by and picking me up from the ground.  He talked to everyone around me, and he gathered that I was the guilty one.   And in truth, I was guilty.   Yet, again, I was hurt that no one factored in the emotions I was experiencing at that moment.  The girl understood my actions, and the boy just wanted to look good in front of her by defending her honor.   The teacher didn’t care for me, so I felt very alone that specific time and place.   To this day, on a Sunday, I look back at my time, and cringe.  The tragedy of the moment is still very much part of me, and who I am.  Yet, with that sense of guilt and feeling being misunderstood, I still look forward to tomorrow, hoping better days will come. 
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