It's a great day to be reminded of a painful past…
I was on my way home after doing my grocery-shopping (I always walk on foot, carrying a large backpack for the groceries), when I saw a bunch of boys gathered around on my home street.
In the middle of the gathering, one of the boys was holding a younger, smaller boy in a rather unpleasant, compromised grip. I noticed out of the corner of my eye another boy nonchalantly juggling a piece of wood, and I start getting rapid, extremely brief, barely noticable flashbacks from *ahem* "encounters" in my own childhood.
So I asked (with slightly subdued anger in my voice): "What the Hell do you kids think you're doing?!"
The guy holding the smaller boy instantly let go and the smaller boy quickly cried out: "It was only in fun! It was only in fun!" while he rapidly jumped on top of a stack of bricks to put distance between himself and the other boys.
Only in fun?
"Yeah, he's right! It was only a joke," his captor responded. I narrowed my eyes and responded: "You'd better be right…for your own sake!"
"Why?" I was asked. By now my anxiety started getting really painful and I had to struggle to maintain any sense of authority in my voice and keep my thoughts clear (they weren't, but I had to try anyway).
"Because if I find out he wasn't having fun, there'll be Hell to pay!"
"He was laughing," I was told. "Sure," I said. "He was laughing on the outside, but what about the inside?"
"Mind the inside," I snarled through my teeth (to hide the anxiety), as I turned away and walked the last bit to my home.
Already as I mounted the staircase to my flat (apartment if you're American), I had the worst thoughts that those little sh*ts would go tell their "Dadda and Mommah" (twisting the truth around to make themselves look like innocent darlings) and that the next thing I would know would be their brickheaded "Mommahs and Daddas" standing on my front porch threatening me with everything ranging from beatings to lawsuits to police custody for "harassing their oh-so-innocent li'l babies".
Irrational perhaps, but I've seen signs in the past that the real culprits could twist the truth to allow them to get away with their crimes.
Me being an adult doesn't really make a difference in my own mind – our society is so damned bent with injustice by now that even law-abiding citizens can end up on the wrong side of the bars for trying to do the right thing – at least, that's the impression I'm getting of modern society, but perhaps I'm just being my usual, pessimistic self.
Damn that anxiety, damn it to Hell…