First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 19

the forgiving kind by Donna Everhart
A child has an innate sense of fairness as early as – get this – nineteen months. I remember a family my parents rented a house to, and they had a little boy who was younger than me by a year or so. I was about seven, so that put him around five, maybe six. They had a swing set with a slide in the backyard, and one afternoon, I’d already gone down it a time or two. The kid wanted to go down too, but held tight to a small brown bag with candy in it.

He said, “Will you hold it for me?”

I didn’t think anything about it. I took it, and stood beside the ladder and watched him as he climbed.

Seconds later, Mom yelled out the door, “Donna Lee Davis! (the dreaded three names) What are you doing with that? You give it back to him NOW, and get over here!”

By then he’d gone down the slide, come back around and I handed it to him.

I said, “I got to go.”

He started crying, and said, “I want you to play with me!”

Mom saw his crying as proof she was right; I’d taken his candy. Shoulders drooped, feet dragging, I made my way to her. She was ready, and took me by the arm, and off we went into that odd dance – me running in a circle while she switched my legs. The kid, wide-eyed at this, was no longer crying, mesmerized by the scene.

She finally let me go, and said, “Don’t you ever take anything from anybody! That’s stealing!”

Talk about humiliation. Getting your rear end tore up in front of a younger kid does nothing for your self-esteem. It did no good to try and explain because Mom never wanted to hear “excuses.” She saw what she saw and that was that.

Here’s what happened next. The phone rang and she pointed to the back steps, told me to sit and think about what I’d done. So, I sat and cried my heart out at how unfair it was.

She went in, and through the screen door I heard, “Hello?”

It got really quiet, with a couple, “Oh, oh, I see.”

My brother came and sat by me and after a minute or so, Mom appeared at the back door, and said, “Both of you, get in here.”

I’d already been whipped so, I wasn’t afraid, even though her voice was tight and sounded off. We went in and she handed us a each a quarter.

She said to me, “Don’t let me ever catch you taking anything from anyone! Do you understand?”

I nodded, as I stared down at the coin. She only gave us one to go to the little store down the road for candy, which we did about once a week.

She said, “Go on.”

My brother and I walked down to the little grocery store with the wooden display case of penny candy and picked out a quarters worth. We got flavored wax bottles, bubble gum cigars, candy cigarettes, peanut butter logs, and probably some fireballs.

Back home, Mom and the kid’s mother stood in the yard talking. Mom went back inside after a few minutes, and I shared a piece of candy from my bag with the kid. His mama winked at me. I was pretty sure she was the one who called, the one who explained what really took place. The quarter was because Mom felt guilty.

***

While Sonny’s mama is a fair-minded individual, there are times she only sees part of what has happened, especially when it comes to Mr. Fowler and Daniel. Sonny gets frustrated, knowing her mama is wrong about various incidents, and decisions made based on only one side rankle her. She decides to take matters into her own hands on more than one occasion. Like one early reviewer has pointed out, Sonny is twelve, and only knows what she wants in that moment. She doesn’t think of consequences.

Who ever does?

Chapter 19

I was sure Mr. Fowler would tell Mama he’d seen me and Daniel at the pond, if only to prove his point we were disobedient.

 


COMMENTS

  • Eldonna Edwards

    October 12, 2018

    Reply

    I cringed reading about little Donna getting wrongly whipped as a child. Being misunderstood is one of the softest dents in our vulnerability as human beings. I feel sad that your mama chose to assuage her guilt with a quarter instead of an apology. Fantastic lead-in to this chapter of The Forgiving Kind, which you know I just loved. Every child needs a secret pond to drench her worries and hide from the adult world.

    • donnaeve

      October 12, 2018

      Reply

      Ha – I still cringe at the memory of it, and many more. I guess you could say I was a bit unfair like that to my own kids too. If I heard anything going on between them, they both were punished because I didn’t want to hear “it.” They were rarely spanked though, usually something was taken away.

      You were the early reviewer, but maybe you guessed – either way, it was a wonderful observation. <3 And in your beautiful way of assessing a scene, your last sentence is perfection.

  • carol baldwin

    October 13, 2018

    Reply

    You point out something very interesting in your reflection on your own history. People don’t often see the whole side of the story. And to show that in a book–Ah! That’s momentous.

    • donnaeve

      October 14, 2018

      Reply

      Thus that old saying, there’s always two sides to every story. I love thinking back on how I reacted to A, B, or C when I’m writing. It can be challenging if I haven’t experienced what I’m trying to write – but in this case, and in this book, I had (unfortunately) a lot of material to work with. It adds authenticity to a character’s emotions! 😉


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