The Other Side of the Fence

In the woods behind my childhood home, a familiar path led through the trees and over the creek. Around the bend and up the hill, to a wooden fence raised over my head;

This boundary created space between the invited and the rejected.

On the other side of the fence was a swimming pool, filled with the inner circle of neighborhood children. Danny and Davey, with their golden hair and perfect tans… my heroes. From the bushes nearest the woods, I crept up slowly to the fence. I could hear, but I could not see. I could smell, but I could not taste. The delicious sound of belonging.

I remember sitting there, crying, for hours. They had promised to invite me to the party, but in the sudden rush to the diving board, and the euphoric crash below – somehow I had been forgotten. But that was Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And the weekend, the same.

I was homeschooled.

So my best friend was a tree fort. And a dog named Binky. And a slingshot that would become the vehicle driving the premeditated murder of a thousand squirrels. And occasionally, the neighbors window – which would become the target of all of my rage. The anger was born from an inexplicable sadness that permeated my adolescence, and has burned through my heart until this day.

 

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