25 years ago

I’m 34 and this happened in 3rd grade…so it’s hard to remember all the details. But the one part of this story that sticks out crystal clear in my mind is of little 9-yr-old me, hiding behind a dumpster on the playground, out of breath and trying desperately to hold back tears.

A boy in the grade above me and some of his friends had been chasing me all over the playground trying to get that one boy to kiss me. I was a fast runner and I was always able to stay away. I would run, get lost in some other kids, stop and look to see if they could find me. When they did I would start running again. Only by hiding behind a dumpster was I able to buy myself enough time to catch my breath and clean my tears until the bell rang.

I don’t have any memory of reporting it or what happened after. I know I felt ashamed and my conservative “hush hush” upbringing probably told me to just keep quiet. But it stuck with me. It’s just innocent “kid stuff,” right? No. It was scary and I didn’t have the tools to deal with it.