I have a scar on my left forearm just below my elbow. It's only about an inch and a half long.
I don't know why I was such a momma's boy. I saw my dad on weekends, and I had twin uncles in their early 20's whose sole purpose seemed to be "toughening me up" and "not allowing me to be such a big baby anymore". In spite of these factors, I grew in to a timid, chicken-hearted 12-year old. I was a risk-management specialist, and avoided all activity that carried the remotest possibility of pain.
When my mom re-married, she and my step-dad decided to move us to Covina, CA. This put me into an interesting predicament. I had never once attended a school in my own neighborhood, having always gone outside my district to accomodate my working-mom's schedule. Now I was finally going to attend Glen Oak Elementary, only a short walk from our new house.
This was a very significant change.
I had never gone to a local school before, and had grown accustomed to the solitary life of a latch-key kid, not venturing outside, content to read books and watch television when I was home early. I didn't have friends knocking on the door. My friends were the kids of my parents' friends.
In this new place, I would be forced to acknowledge the existence of other children who shared the same block, even the same cul-de-sac. Before I had started school I was wilting under the presumption of peer pressure, imagining the heinous rites of passage that would demand my blood, sweat and complete absence of tears in order for acceptance to be granted.
My initial response was to avoid contact with anyone at all costs. It was my great misfortune then to be the only neighborhood child in possession of a large and beautifully proportioned swimming pool. I don't know whether the kids on my block had a pre-existing knowledge of this pool, or if they just sniffed it on the air as they cruised by on racing bikes. Either way, they peeked over the back walls, or came to the door, at first feigning interest in me, working all the while toward the beckoning siren call of my last (private) resort .
My resistance was useless, and I was soon considered one of the guys, at least, on a trial basis. I knew that the time would come when my daring and nerve would be put to the test, my fearfulness and cowardice called in to question. I knew that soon summer would be over, and with it my brief run of acceptance.