The writing exercise called for remembering a dramatic event from my childhood, making a list of the things I remembered and a list of things I couldn’t quite recall, then writing a story with those gaps bridged with some untruths to complete the tale. I hope you enjoy it.
Charlie and I took off toward the field as soon as we were dismissed from lunch. I had just told Jennifer that I liked her and she’d just finished giving me a funny look, so I really didn’t want to see her for the remainder of recess. I knew I had to pee while I was at the lunch table, and especially during the confession of my feelings to my year-long crush, but avoidance was completely necessary, and I would not compromise or be convinced otherwise.
Within a couple of minutes, we were at the back side of the field walking along the gravel perimeter path, walking slowly. The topic was not Jennifer, or even girls at large. 4th graders don’t talk about that stuff. Instead, we resorted to discussing the ever profound topic of video games, because, much to my dismay, Charlie had just acquired a Sega Genesis system, inherently betraying the unspoken code of conduct for all Nintendo owners. Possessing Sega products, or even caught enjoying them, was simply unacceptable. I was determined to talk him out of it before the bell.
We walked as slowly as we could without looking like we were just standing there, to avoid drawing suspicion from the yard duty. But we were definitely up to something; we were outlaws, avoiding incrimination at all costs. Charlie was my willing accomplice; we would live it out on this field forever if we had to.
Coming around the back corner, I really had to go now, and I even considered relieving myself behind the backstop, but thought better of it. Charlie had begun discussing some of the more memorable attributes of our classmates, which didn’t help my situation much, especially when he started talking about Felicia, the awkward dark-haired girl with the long braids.
You know, everything is funnier when you have to pee, and this was no exception. And holding it with Charlie around was particularly difficult; he unwittingly laid out continuous remarks that made me double over. I began to realize that I had two options at this point: separate myself from Charlie at the risk of running into Jennifer, or do everything I could to hold it until the bell. I decided on the latter. How much longer could recess be?
But fate would have her way, because, almost supernaturally, the topic of Felicia resurfaced just as we passed a gate along the fence line emblazoned with a big golden “F”. Charlie promptly remarked that this must be where she lived, or perhaps that the letter represented her report card grades. Now, the reader may not find this particularly humorous, but to a boy, already reaching a pinnacle state of delirium and, quite frankly, filled to the very brim, it may as well have been Mrs. Pettigrew farting in class that I’d heard, and alas, this simple observation proved to be the final blow.
“What do I do?” I had to think. Instantly, my pants were soaked at the crotch; fear of embarrassment and ridicule made me dizzy, and I looked about for something to cover it up. I could only walk behind Charlie for so long. And then my eyes met the gravel path. It was the best idea I could conjure up. Instantly, I laid flat onto the ground, making it appear as if I’d fallen, staying there for a few seconds with the desperate hope that the loose gravel would cover up the huge blotch of wetness saturating my jeans. Satisfied with my strategy, I slowly arose.
“Hey, he pissed his pants!”
Standing before me was Coy. He was one of those special ed kids. Or maybe he was just a punk, which I easily surmised by the way he wore his black cap slightly raised on his head to make himself look slightly more imposing as opposed to his diminutive stature. But he was definitely the last person I wanted to see in this situation. None of this mattered now; that singular resounding announcement put himself in a position of eternal superiority. Everyone on the playground could hear it; I’m sure the neighbors across the street could hear it. Struck with every painful infliction a fourth grade boy could possibly undertake during a single recess, I did the last thing I could think of. I cried.
I sobbed loudly and immediately. I cried to drown out the chanting and teasing surrounding me. I sobbed until the world around me started to spin, until the circle of kids resembled a high-velocity merry-go-round. And I cried until somebody gently grabbed my arm.
It was Jennifer.
No, no it wasn’t. In fact, a woman clad in an orange vest had grabbed my wrist and began to tug me away. The elderly yard duty looked upon me with kind eyes, like a mother who had just seen her own son fall and scrape his knees, and she pulled me across the playground to safety, to the office.
I remember there were some other girls that had noticed my plight along my journey to the office. Perhaps one of them was Jennifer; I was uncertain, and I still am. But moments before reaching the office, the bell finally rang, and I knew I’d be safe for one more day.