I was confused. Grabbing the strap of my backpack, I pulled it over my shoulder and continued towards the bus. It never waited. You had fifteen minutes after the last bell, then it left.
My backpack was jerked. I stopped as he filled my path again, followed by his posse. A posse that consisted of two people: the only Black girl in my class – a skinny girl with a mop of hair who dressed like a boy – and his younger brother.
“I can hit you,” he said again.
“You’re going to hit me?”
I was confused. You don’t tell somebody you can hit her, you just hit her.
“Yeah. She told me how.” He nodded towards the female member of his small posse.
“What do you mean ‘She told you how’?”
“It’s OK for me to hit you ‘cause she showed me how to fight a girl.”
A crowd was gathering.
“You had to be told how to fight a girl?”
I wasn’t trying to be funny – I was genuinely confused – but the line got laughs. Score.
That morning I had made inferences about the size of his penis based on the fact that he was incredibly skinny. I had never seen a penis nor did I know how small or how big one should be, but I had heard somewhere that boys hated being told It was small. A movie? My brother? I don’t know, but it worked.
He had been making fun of me and my best friend, and he went red and silent when I brought up his penis size. Girls slapped my hand as I got off the bus for school, and throughout the day I was asked to tell the story again and again.
Now, Mr. Small Penis was standing in front of me in all his 12-year-old glory, chest puffed out, wanting to hit me. I must have struck a nerve. Boys and their penii. I kept my backpack on my shoulder and stared at him. His face was reddening, and he was standing in a boxer stance.
“You’re not going to hit me,” I said, silently hoping that I was right.
Now, here’s where it gets fuzzy. I know he didn’t hit me. I know we got on the bus to go home because he lived only a few streets away from me. I also know that the summer between grades 7 and 8 he officially became my boyfriend.
Life is funny sometimes.
My takeaways from this memory (that came flooding back while watching 21 Jump Street…who knew?):
- A lot of people wanted to fight me when I was a kid. (You can read about my encounter with Delphina here.)
- Humor gets me a pretty decent pass on stuff that could get me in trouble.
- I still am confused by the male anatomy.