When I was a little girl, growing up in the 1970’s, I was allowed to play with everyone. My parents never discussed the color or ethnicity of anyone we knew so the color of skin was never a subject I thought about. When I started Kindergarten both of my parents worked so my grandparents watched me. I used to play with all of the kids that lived in their building on a daily basis. That summer, my grandmother passed away. I don’t really remember what provisions were made after that regarding who watched me. It’s possible my parents worked different shifts so that one was home with me, I can’t really remember. All I know is that I continued school near my house. Midway through elementary, we moved to the neighborhood where my grandparents lived and I started school with all of my familiar friends and I met other kids that would eventually become lifelong friends.
When I started in my new school, one of my friends from my grandparents building was in my class. We’ll call her Lucy. Since there was a decent hugh difference within my class and neighborhood I never saw her as different. However, I soon found out that she was a girl that got picked on, and often. It happened to be that her father was black and her mother was white. Today we call it biracial. Back then the names were cruel and ignorant from little 3rd graders…oreo and zebra were pretty prominent. And even though I was her friend, and new her probably since before I could remember…I joined in. The black kids, the white kids, the spanish kids….we all tortured her. Of course, because we were kids, things would subside and we’d all be friends again…until the next time she became the target.
As the years went on, less and less of that occurred. I’m not sure if we all just outgrew it or if the friendships over powered the need to pick on her. Don’t get me wrong…I was not exempt from being teased. It was a free for all…we ALL got picked on at one time or another. Whether it be because your pants were too short or you had a booger hanging out of your nose…everyone was fair game. And it wasn’t considered bullying…it was kids being kids.
I never told anyone until recently but my participation in teasing Lucy was an extremely heavy burdon on my heart. This was a true regret I carried with me into adulthood. Even though I went through almost all of school with her, I never apologized. We’d see each other here and there…we were for the most part friends…more like aquaintances as the years went on because we never really “hung out” anymore plus she dropped out of school so I never saw her after that.
I don’t know how many people in the neighborhood knew this…I did because my grandparents lived directly upstairs from her family…but the entire family…from the mother to all 5 children (3 more to eventually come) were ALL abused. Serious, insane, jaw droppingly abused. I never even knew how bad until I got in touch with Lucy’s mother. She contacted me through Facebook. She was finally free of her husband and told me of all of the horrible things that man did. This woman was locked inside of her house. He had a deadbolt put on and nails in the windows so they could not escape. He beat them terribly…your worst thoughts…he did it. He even had his wife commited. It was only about a week or so but still. Then he moved them out of state and continued the madness. Her eldest child was lost to drugs and eventually died. Lucy would also succumb to drugs and some sort of mental illness most likely due to being raped by her father.
After speaking with her mother several times, she told me of the eventual arrest of her husband and how her and the rest of her kids are finally at peace. It was so nice to hear a happy ending for her. At one point she asked me if I had ever been “in the life”. That’s how she phrased it. In The Life. Of course, I said no. A small part of me wondered if we reconnected for a reason. Maybe eventually I would need her expertise. I shrugged it off as this was a couple of years ago and I was no where near ready to talk about my life.
However, there may be another reason she was brought back into my life. Whatever reason, I took full advantage of the situation. I sat down one Saturday and wrote her an extremely heartfelt sincere apology about the way I took part in the treatment of her child. I was hysterically crying writing it. I never realized how much it truly affected me. When I hit send…I felt a small sense of relief but I was so nervous anticipating her response. She called me to respond. She said, “Honey, I can’t believe you carried that on your shoulders for so long. You can let that go. I cannot hold against you what you did as a child. Those were actions of children who didn’t know any better. There is nothing to forgive as far as I’m concerned but if you need it, I forgive you. And I thank you for such a beautiful note.” At once, I felt a huge sense of relief. The heaviness of that burden was instantly lifted…even without apologizing directly to Lucy.
With that being said…since blogging…I’ve come across great people. Some of whom, as I write, I know will respond…and I look forward to it. One of these people wrote something that reminded me of Lucy. And I know exactly how heavily it weighs on his heart. He wrote a beautiful poem about it…I wish he’d find a way to forgive himself. Even if he is unable to find that little girl from the bus…I extend the forgiveness from Lucy’s mother unto you…
This one was written by: Fragments of Life
of all that is taught and reckoned as sin,
from top-to-bottom, left-to-right, inside-to-out,
one way or another, i’ve committed them all.
yet, i shrug it all off after a moment’s regret,
and move on, not feeling too bad at all
for most of what i’ve done.
only one sin haunts me and will not turn me loose.
Continue reading here… Unpardonable