Around the time that I started elementary school, I was sitting in my front yard, which was on a corner of a quiet street somewhere in the Midwest. I was inspecting the grass, the differently shaped plants growing in amongst the blades of grass, the stones and dirt underneath it all, and the various bugs crawling about over it all. I was always enthralled by nature and intrigued in particular by the little bits of life that live so closely to people. Quietly, suddenly a much older boy sat down beside me and said, “Let me see your pussy.” I knew by his tone that something was wrong with him and that something was wrong with what he was saying, but I had absolutely no idea what. I did not feel safe to run away because he was too close to me, touching me, breathing hard, so I politely said, “I don’t have a pussy.” Which at the time was true, both literally and in the vernacular. We argued briefly, "let me see...", "I don’t have one.", "Let me see..." I do not recall that he said anything else, he just sat very close to me, and dug in the dirt with a worn ivory-handled knife. I know that the handle of his knife was ivory because someone startled him and as he scrambled away from me, he forgot to take his knife. He also left a child’s hand-sized slag of metal, in retrospect a little treasure, an iron meteorite which was smooth and lumpy (probably an Odessa iron meteorite.) I left the meteorite there because he had touched it, but I kept the worn ivory-handled knife. My mother confiscated it and kept it for many years. When I was an adult I took back the worn ivory-handled knife and put it in the bottom of my purse, as a token of protection, as a never-to-be-used means of protection.
That encounter, that dirty little interaction lasting only minutes, left me leery of sitting outdoors. Such a small incident for such large consequences.
Broken Branches Broken Life Chances—It’s A Birch
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018