He Wants Me
Attending Westport school #225 was enjoyable during my Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten years. Both consisted of half day lessons filled with singing, dancing, painting and my favorite, snacks. I will never forget walking into my classroom on the first day. I was holding my mom’s hand really tight. There was a brownish-gray carpet on the floor. It looked like one big ugly rug. The air smelled stale. The room looked dim and gloomy although they tried desperately to brighten up the room by painting the walls a light pale blue color. Actually, the color was so faint that it looked as if it was supposed to be white but someone decided at the last minute to add blue to it and ran out while mixing the two. No matter the colors of the walls, the smell in the air or the ugly carpet, I remember being greeted with a warm smile and a hug from my teacher. She took my left hand and asked my name. I turned to my mother to receive the nod of approval to engage in conversation with a stranger. My mother nodded with a slight smile and saying, “its okay baby”.
My teacher, Mrs. Rosenfeld was a petite short white woman. She guided me around the huge room showing me all the toys, my cubby that would hold my belongings, the sandbox and the painting station. I smiled at her and from that moment on she and I had a strong connection. She had become a mother to me while I was in school. I never even realized my mother had drifted out of the room as Mrs. Rosenfeld took me into the attached room to introduce me and my fellow classmates. Initially I was extremely afraid. My thoughts were often consumed with whether my classmates and teachers would like me. My mind stayed constant, contemplating whether I was too short, to light, not light enough, to thin – if my nose was too big or my hair to wooly because I was in school with people from communities that did not look like mine. I found myself comparing and contrasting myself, my mother and my environment with the other students but especially the white ones.
Eventually, after settling down in class and learning my friend’s names, I grew confident and comfortable with them and this new transition in my life. Although my friendship pool expanded I was still pretty shy. There was this one particular little boy in my class that was from the neighborhood claiming to know me but I had never seen him before, though he swore he knew me – really, it was my brother he knew. Since the second day of school he would sit by me and smile at me. I sort of smiled back but not really because he made me feel awfully uncomfortable.
One day while we sat on the gray carpet ready to recite through song our newly learned alphabet, this same little boy crawled over to sit by me. We were seated alphabetically but even that did not stop him from pursuing my responses or from invading my space. As we were all engrossed in song, going from alphabet to numbers to colors and onto days of the week, he began tapping me on the shoulder. He wanted to show me his new toy car but I was not interested. I looked at him as if to say stop bothering me and kept singing with everyone else. As I remained focused on the lesson he tried everything within his power to get my attention. From creating fart sounds with his mouth to sitting directly in my path blocking my view, until finally he yanked my pony tail, snatching my barrette off and almost pulling me completely backwards. I thought my neck was about to snap from the force of the jerk.
My teacher quickly ran over and grabbed him up by his arm. Mrs. Rosenfeld informed him of the trouble he was in. She escorted him to the next classroom where the teacher’s aid was working with a student as I sat on the carpet shocked and in tears. I was embarrassed as the other children sat watching me cry. When my teacher came back into the room she came over to me with tissue in hand asking if I were okay. She then turned to the other students and told them bullying would not be tolerated in her classroom. The students were sent back to their seats as Mrs. Rosenfeld and I filled out an incident slip. Afterwards, she asked me if I wanted to get a drink of water and I said yes. With a soft loving voice she encouraged me to wipe my eyes and to smile. She assured me that the boy would not be bothering me again.
From that day forward Mrs. Rosenfeld made sure to keep the boy at a distance from me. The moment she saw him out of his seat without permission he was reprimanded. Each day we were sent to do special activities at different times. Though the teacher worked diligently to keep the boy far from me it did not stop him from licking his tongue at me nor did it keep him from following me after school. When he could not get close to me in school he decided after school was the perfect time to raid my personal space. He would walk behind me with his buddy calling me names but I just kept walking. I had been a latch key-kid since Pre-K so I always walked home alone. Never having confronted issues like these before, at least not outside the occasional agitation from my brothers and sisters, I just decided to keep my cool and make it home. Inside my head I kept repeating, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names and words can’t hurt me”.
After weeks of jockeying for my attention, following me home and name calling, he finally upgraded to pushing, shoving and even groping. He began telling his buddy that he was my boyfriend. I was confused as to why he thought I wanted to be his girlfriend especially since he had been so mean to me – plus he was a dingy little boy who often smelled. Once the pushing began I would go home crying.
One day I walked in the house with dirt all over my clothes and tears streaking my cheeks. My Aunt Pat from North Carolina and her two daughters Rahon and Wanda were living with us so sometimes she was home when I got in. She asked what was wrong and I told her about the boy chasing me. I explained with a scraggly voice that this particular day the boy decided to not only call me names and push me around but that he pinned me to the big oak true across from the school. He also tried to kiss me on my lips and he kept saying over and over that he wanted me to give him some. I didn’t know what some was but then he pressed his pelvis against mine and began humping me. I told her that once he was done he pushed me in the grass and tried lifting my skirt to touch my vagina. I escaped because a guy from the neighborhood snatched him off of me, grabbing both boys by the arms telling me to run home while he held them. My Aunt was furious. That night after my Aunt and mother discussed the day’s events my fighting lesson began.
The next day, I was all geared up. I had a surprise for my little Kindergarten stalker. When the school day was over I did not rush as I had been doing since the annoying boy started following me home. Actually, he and his friend ended up in front of me because they too were accustomed to me sprinting out the door so they tried to keep up with me. Only this time, they had not realized I was behind them – well at least not at first. Upon recognizing my position they immediately stopped and as they did, I moved towards the street.
Suddenly I had butterflies in my stomach and I was not feeling up to demonstrating my fighting skills so my intent was to run. He must have sensed it so he gestured to his friend and swiftly I found myself closed in near the same oak tree across from the school. The boy asked me where I thought I was going without him. He had taken it upon himself to upgrade his status from my boyfriend to my husband, boasting about how I was his for sure now that I gave him some. Sickness again flooded my stomach and I felt something coming up but it was not vomit. For the first time, the quiet little girl began yelling at the boy. I told him he was a dirty little thing that made me sick and that he better leave me alone or he would be sorry. Both of the boys laughed but I did not think anything was funny. I was afraid but I was also fed up with the constant harassment.
He pushed me and I reached into book bag and pulled out my weapon. It was the hard spongy thing that sits on top of crutches. He and his friend were truly amused by me because they laughed until his friend fell on the ground. Then “my little Kindergarten pimp of a husband” asked me through a smile what I intended to do with my weapon. In my mind I was thinking this is not going anything like my Aunt told me it should. I think I moved to slow or something because according to how she demonstrated it by now I should have whacked him and his friend quite a few times and be on my way running home. He moved towards me and I back away saying in a shaky voice that he better stop before I hit him. He told me to go ahead so I swung and to my surprise it landed right in his hand. He snatched the crutch top out of my hand and began beating me on my head, legs, arms and even my butt – with my own weapon.
This scene lasted for what seemed to be hours. To this day I don’t know what stopped him. Maybe it was a combination of my tears and screams of pain or maybe his arm grew tired but whatever it was I was grateful that he quit. I went home once again, defeated but this time with my pride bruised a little more than my arms and legs. Not being able to defend myself made me afraid and anxious. The entire way home as tears fell I thought about having to live with this boy for the rest of the school year. I made up my mind that if he wanted me that bad I would either have to give in or quit school. Of course when I got home my mom and Aunt where seated at the infamous kitchen table smoking cigarettes. When they saw me they both, almost harmonically screamed, “What the hell”.
The next day, they went to the school blazing, ready to set fire to someone or tear the roof off the school. My afterschool rendezvous’ with the boy were exposed to my teacher and the principal and included his abrupt, abusive, abrasive and obscene behaviors towards me. Never knew what happened to this little boy, all I remember is I never saw or heard from him again after my mom and aunt visited the school. I still wonder what they said or did to make him disappear and why he wanted me so bad. I was only a little girl just as he was a little boy. What did he know about wanting somebody or gettn’ sum? Well, – that was the end of that.