“Hi, Ronny. I just wanted to ask you why you did that to me today.” Sojourner waited for his reply but could only hear his nervous mumbling. She could not make out any words.
“Huh? You’re okay, aren’t you?”
“I was able to get home before either of my parents so they never saw my bleeding arms. I bandaged my arms but I need to know why you did that. What did I do to you that made you do that to me?” Now, Sojourner heard him laughing quietly into the phone.
“Hey, you didn’t do nothin’. Why’d you think I was mad? I wasn’t mad; I was just playin’ with ya.” So, this is the way boys play with girls? Well, Ronny did have three brothers at home and Sojourner reckoned that they played pretty rough with him.
“Well, what you did hurt me. Besides you broke my mother’s pen.”
“So, are you gonna tell on me? Are you a tattletale? You’ll probably get in trouble for having your mother’s pen in the first place and now you bring it home broken.” What a dilemma. He was right. Sojourner had no idea how she happened to have the pen and now it was broken. Besides, she had liked Ronny before this rough play of his. Did she still like him? Would he do that to her again? Sojourner just had so many questions and her heart was not helping her one bit. “Hey, you still there? Did you hear me? You gonna squeal on me?”
“No, I’m not going to tell.” Sojourner didn’t want her parents to call his parents and get him in trouble. Sojourner had wanted to phone her girlfriends but she didn’t want them to not like Ronny.
“Okay, see you in school then. Bye.” Sojourner said a quiet, pensive Bye in return but this event had really shaken her up. Were boys really worth the pain of playing with them?
All day Saturday, Sojourner’s arms continued to burn with pain and she really struggled with keeping the secret. Sojourner wore long sleeves in spite of the warm weather. Her sisters noticed but her parents just seemed to chalk it up to one of those “kid things” that they never understood. Sojourner sucked it up and never told anyone.
By evening, however, Sojourner could bear the pain no longer. It was getting worse and she just knew another night of tossing and turning lay ahead of her if she did not do something else. What she needed was some ointment on those stripes. It felt like they were drying up and pulling. Sojourner did not know where the ointment was kept; she had not seen it in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Maybe after her bath, if she stood on the toilet seat, she could stretch far enough to see what was on the top shelf. That was the plan and it might have worked if her mother had not wondered why she was taking so long.
“What are those marks on your arms?” Sojourner twisted around to look at the now open door, hands still extended towards the medicine cabinet. Quickly her mother came toward her and took hold of her left hand. While her stunned mother carefully examined the wounds on the tender underside of her arm, Sojourner struggled to come up with a reply that would not get anyone in trouble.
“What marks?” Oh, how lame. Like my mother is going to believe that I don’t know that there are marks on my arms! Think, think. What can I tell her? Sojourner’s thoughts raced by in all directions, colliding with one another as she tried to find something to say.
“What do you mean, ‘what marks?’ Look at your arms. How did this happen?” Sojourner’s mother had taken hold of the left arm, turned it over, and was gently palpating the tender pink skin near the jagged linear wounds. Obviously she was horrified at what she saw. Taking the tube of ointment out of Sojourner’s right hand, she examined the other forearm.
“Oh, Mom. It was just a kid at school. He was playing and…“ Mother interrupted before the explanation was out of Sojourner’s mouth.
“This is not playing! What is his name?” Oh no, I could not tell; I had promised Ronny I would not tell. Would he still like me if he found out I told? Would my mother call his parents? Sojourner was in a panic
****Peer Relationships: Opposite Gender, Conclusion… Coming Tomorrow.