"As we walked across the grocery store parking lot that first humid day of
summer, I said to my son, "Tell me what happened. Show me what she did. Pretend
you are Miss X. and show me what happened to you."
Sam immediately took on the persona of his teacher. He grabbed my wrist, two
fingernails digging into my skin.
"Come here!" he scowled in a stage whisper.
I looked around at the people eating lunch in the outdoor café. They were seated
in the shade at the wrought iron tables, under large green umbrellas. I knew
some of them thought they were witnessing a real incident, a child grabbing his
mother's arm in anger.
I didn't care.
I needed to feel what he had felt. I needed, from my primal mothering
soul-level, to be there with him in that moment that has haunted us both for
over five years.
Next, Sam told me Miss X. dragged him up the stairwell, into a nook between the
first and second floors. "Stop acting crazy!" she hissed. Sam had fire in his
eyes as he looked at me, taking on her persona.
"Stop it!" he cried… and... SLAP!
My wrist ached as it bent to an unnatural angle in his young hand. An impression
of pink remained on the back of my hand. His "beloved" teacher had smacked him
on the hand with the powerful force of an adult: projecting what felt like adult
emotions onto the back of his small, white hand.
That pink mark would eventually fade, but it's spiritual sting would remain. The
pink stinging sensation colored much of what Sam and I did for years to come.
The pink would bleed into all of our relationships: school, work, play, church,
There was no escape.
And to think... that same shade of pink was what had first drawn me to the