Monday, September 22, 2008

Closing Open Wounds

It's amazing how we hold on to things emotionally. We embrace the big things, like when our parents tell us they're proud of a job well done or when a special someone tells us they think we're amazing. We also hold on to negative stuff, pretend we've let go, and secretly bear the open wound. I didn't realize I was harboring one of these awful open wounds for so many years until this weekend.

Kevin and I were wandering through the store and strolled into the sporting goods section. I was admiring the baseball gloves, longing for a person to play catch with me like Dad used to do. I reached down and picked up a brand new baseball, unmarred and perfectly bound in the smooth, white leather jacket, stitched up in neat red laces. The smell of springtime baseball fields wafted in my mind. A voice half-shouted, "move it up, bring it in, Jaggy's up!" I realized the voice was not coming from inside my head but from down the aisle. Kevin was teasing me exactly as my classmates had done when I was young. Without knowing, he instantly salted that long-open wound. I resisted the urge to replace his nose with the baseball, opting instead to let it fall out of my hand back into the bin.

I didn't realize how much a small jest could hurt, especially after so much time. For some reason or another, I've been carrying around with me this bitterness about silly childhood insults from grade school. His words weren't the most painful part of the moment there in the store. Realizing I could still be affected by something I thought I'd let go of was worse.

It's not about the baseball: I love to play catch and feel a ball slide into the glove's pocket. It's not about the hearing apologies from Kevin or any of those cruel classmates from way back when. I need to realize that I am not the same scared little girl who always got picked last in PE class. I need to let it go.

Besides, I may throw like a girl (maybe), but I can dance circles around every last one of those people. Well, except Kevin. He's pretty good.

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