Sometimes memories pop up in my head, and I cannot get rid of them until I write them down in the hopes that someone else might gain some insight, or resolve a problem they are facing. I’m writing this story and sending it out much like one would send out an origami boat upon a still lake, in the hopes that it will someday reach you, and brighten up your day. This particular story does not have a very happy beginning, but if you bear with me, I think it will take you somewhere much more positive by the end.
When I was about eight years old, I went over to my neighbor’s house, to see if the little girl that lived there wanted to come out and play. It was one of those glorious summer days, with the sun high up in the sky beaming down brightly and cheerily upon the world. I rang the doorbell, and when no one answered the door, I decided to lie down on the front lawn, just underneath a huge tree. It was just so peaceful resting in the shade, listening to the birds chirp, and looking up through sun-dappled leaves. In the midst of this wondrous and seemingly endless moment, my world erupted rather violently.
While I was laying there quietly minding my own business, two supposed friends, the Gagnon brothers, crept up on me unnoticed, and started kicking me in the head. In those days, kids did not often wear sneakers, but rather, those hard leather shoes that were typical back in the 1960’s. Needless to say, I was helpless as I looked up at them towering above, both of them sniggering and kicking away, while I tried my best to protect my head. Thankfully, someone noticed my plight, and chased them away.
That person who rescued me was my hero, Mike Webber, another neighbor who lived just across the street from our house. Mike was about six years older than me, and would often pretend I had super strength, letting me defeat him in our wrestling matches. What happened immediately after he rescued me that day remains a complete black hole, as I was literally stunned from all those kicks to the head. Rest assured, my parents made sure the Gagnon brothers’ parents knew of this violent act, and removed them permanently from my list of friends.
As I live my life and remember this particular moment, what intrigues me most is the fact that this event never scarred me emotionally in any way shape or form. Even before that day, I never understood violence. In fact, I remember crying when my brothers ever fought each other. Certainly, I was not happy about being kicked in the head that day, but feeling anger towards the Gagnon brothers has never been part of the equation. Rather, I have always felt a wistful longing for other people to look at life as I do.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we allow people to hit us and otherwise be abusive. The reality is, we all live in a world where self-defense is a necessity. But bad things happen to people all the time, and you should never use that as an excuse to become negative, or give up on trying to be the better person.
In a way, the Gagnon brothers helped me focus that day on what was right in the world, in contrast to their extreme and downright evil stupidity. Despite their best attempt at showing me how cruel the world can be, what I remember most was just how beautiful a summer day can be, and that there are heroes willing to chase the bad guys away.