i’m a screamer

September 13, 2012 | 31 Comments

Bewildered expression on husband's face

My mom had a friend named Tyson who would show up for coffee unannounced. He worked for a local phone company and was called to our neighbourhood for work, making his visits easy and frequent. He always looked me in the eyes when he said hello and took a few moments to dig into my little girl life while my mom fixed his coffee. He made me feel safe and interesting. I looked forward to seeing him.

I lingered in the kitchen during his visits, hoping to be included. I can’t remember if I was the sort of kid who bloodied ears with my chatter or if I made myself invisible. I don’t have memories of my mom shooing me from adult spaces for monopolizing conversation with drifting points and generous detail.

Do you know kids who tell stories like that? Me neither. Steve would tell you those are the kind I tell. He lies; my stories are spellbinding. All of them.

I must have been at least moderately interesting, because Tyson liked me back; we were pals.

One day Tyson was in our neighbourhood and I was walking the four blocks home with my friend, Lani. Tyson was driving a company van and had a work buddy with him. Excited to see me, he told his pal he knew me and was going to pull up beside us to say hello. What Tyson didn’t know was that on this particular walk home, Lani and I were discussing training bras, since I had recently gotten my first.

My less curvy, slightly envious, captive audience of one and I were oblivious to life beyond the magic of boobs. I was loud and animated, celebrating my tangible step into womanhood with my friend. Birds perched on our shoulders, singing songs of exaltation. Flowers opened their petals as we approached. The sun smiled upon my bossom, warming my tiny buds through my new, highly necessary layer.

And that’s when Tyson pulled up beside us with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “Hi Shannon!” across the passenger side, through the open window. Lani and I were yanked from our brassiere-induced trance and all I could think was, “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD HE HEARD ME SAY BRA.”

We froze like hunted prey while Tyson’s greeting lingered awkward between us. I became aware of the quicksand of mortification ready to devour.

I did what any other boss eleven year old would.

I screamed and ran the last two blocks home.

Nothing like giving one of your most favourite adults a reputation amongst his peers as a kid creeper.

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