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You Wanna Play Ball?

, , , , , | Friendly | March 15, 2022

It’s summer in the late 2000s, and kids still prefer to spend the day playing outside. I’m home alone with my brothers, sitting outside reading a book, when I hear some yelling coming from the neighbor’s yard. I walk out of my porch to see one of the neighbor’s kids running out of my yard through the fence with a ball in hand. I say to myself, “Oh, they accidentally threw their ball over the fence, okay.”

Me: “Be careful with that!”

They stare at me for a bit before going back to playing. I find it weird, but I assume they weren’t expecting me to say anything, seeing as I am a teen and not actually an adult, so I go back to my book. Not two minutes after, I hear the unmistakable sound of wire fencing being messed with, and I look over to see one of the kids running through my yard, picking their ball from one of my mom’s plants, and running off.

Me: “Hey! What did I just say?!”

The kids laugh and run off, and I move my chair off the porch so I can stand guard. The kids come back, see me, and pretend to be playing for a bit while I stare at them. I eventually decide to look back at my book… and the ball flies over the fence into another plant.

Me: “Hey! Did you not hear me?!”

I get up to go grab the ball, but they are faster and run off with it before I get to them. They move down the block a bit so that they are further from me but still next to my fence, and the scene plays again a few times. By now, they have pulled so much at the wire fencing — it’s simple wire, so they can’t get hurt by grabbing it, though it has barbed wire running at the top because there are many horses in the neighborhood — that the fence is starting to fall down in some places. I realize this is the actual game they are playing: they throw the ball into my yard for one of them to run in and try to run out before I catch them. My brother finally comes out to see what is happening. As soon as he does, the kids run off.

Brother: “Why are you yelling so much?”

Me: “The neighbor’s kids are purposely throwing their ball at our yard. They are breaking the fence, and they have hit Mom’s rose bushes a few times.”

Brother: “Oh… Well, next time they do, grab the ball and bring it to me.”

He goes back inside, and I decide to be sneakier this time; I move the chair back to the porch, half-hidden behind a grapevine so they can’t see that there’s nobody there, and climb the branches of a big willow tree closer to the fence. Just a few minutes later, the kids come back, look at the porch, and don’t even pretend to play before throwing the ball back into the yard… right into my grandma’s old jasmine plant — a big mess of branches, intertwined with some thorny plant — in which the ball instantly gets stuck.

I wait until one of the kids goes through the fence before dropping down from the tree. The result is even better than expected: the kid screams, tries to grab the ball but gets pricked by the thorns, runs off but falls in the tall grass, and finally goes through the fence, catching his shirt in the barbed wire on top and ripping his whole sleeve while trying to escape. A whole section of the fence gets ripped off, too, but I consider it a victory. I grab the ball and head back inside for the day.

A few hours later, we hear some clapping and look outside to see one of the kids’ moms waiting by the fence that separates our yards. My brother goes to talk to her, and I see the kids pale and shrink the moment my brother points at the broken fence and plants. The mother says something and he comes back inside.

Brother: “Give me the ball.”

Me: “What? But they’ll just throw it back in.”

Brother: “Yeah, but Mom is not here, so we cannot just keep it. Go sit back on the porch.”

He gave the ball back to the mother, and we both sat outside to watch her ground her children and throw the ball up on their roof. Victory.

How To Give Your Kids A Very Un-Merry Christmas

, , , , , , | Related | December 23, 2021

My parents divorce when I’m about six years old, and my biological father moves to a different city. When I’m eight and my brothers are ten and twelve, we spend our first Christmas with my dad instead of with Mom.

Everything is fine for the first few days, though our father takes us daily to his parents’ house to play with the kids there — they work for the government taking care of children whose parents cannot look after them — while he sleeps on their sofa. We don’t get affected by it because it’s the normal procedure every time we visit.

But then, we wake up on the twenty-fourth, and our father is nowhere to be seen. We look around his apartment and find nothing — no note and not even food in the fridge. Since we are three children in a really bad neighborhood — my father’s house has been robbed three times at this point — my oldest brother calls my mom back in [Hometown] to ask what to do. They talk for a bit and she calls back later.

Brother: “She said Grandma and Grandpa will be here soon and to pack all our things.”

We do as we’re told, and half an hour later, our grandparents show up.

Me: “Where’s Dad?”

Grandma: “He had a very serious emergency at work, so you three are going to spend Christmas with us.”

They take us to their house, and I proceed to have the worst Christmas ever. My brothers and I end up sitting alone at dinner at a small table, and at night, my grandfather distributes BOXES of fireworks to the children. Imagine twelve children — not counting us — ages five to fourteen, all armed with fireworks. There is so much smoke that I get dizzy and I cough all night.

And because we are not supposed to be there, we also have no presents. As soon as I set foot back inside, my grandma shoves two unwrapped board games into my hands, no “Merry Christmas” or anything, and walks off. I found out later that what she did was unwrap presents aimed at other kids and give them to us, not caring what it was; my brother got a ball, despite his dislike for sports.

Many years later, nearing another Christmas and talking to my mom about bad holiday experiences, I recall this whole story.

Mom: “A ‘very serious emergency’?! Is that what they told you?! Yeah, I guess the police coming for him would have been an emergency!”

Me: “What?”

Mom: “When your brother called me, your father didn’t answer my call, so I called your grandparents. You know what his ‘emergency’ was? [Girlfriend] booked two nights for them at [Seaside Resort]. He abandoned his children without a word to go spend Christmas at [Casino]!”

Me: “…”

Mom: “And you know what? Your grandparents didn’t want to pick you all up! They said they already had too many kids, with [Favorite Grandkid] coming, and that they didn’t want the hassle of three more kids! They agreed and rushed to get you only after I told them that as soon as I was done with the call, I was calling the police and coming myself to pick up my kids — their d*** grandchildren — and I was having that b*****d arrested! That’s why I never allowed him another holiday with you!”

So, to recap, my biological father abandoned his three young kids in a dangerous neighborhood to go gamble with his girlfriend, and my grandparents refused to take care of us because it would have been “a hassle” to accommodate their grandchildren for Christmas in an emergency. I cut ties with that whole side of the family as soon as possible.

This Doctor’s Inability To Listen Is Nauseating

, , , , | Healthy | October 18, 2021

After I’ve complained about stomach pain for a few days, along with vomiting and nausea, my mom takes me to the ER.

Doctor: “Have you considered you might be pregnant?”

Mom: “Excuse you?”

The doctor turns away from my mom and takes my hands, moving her chair closer.

Doctor: “I know it may be hard to admit this in front of your mom, but you have to consider the chance that you might be having a child soon.”

She keeps on talking like that, giving me recommendations and numbers to call for help with teen pregnancy. My mom and I are looking at her in horror, until my mom can’t take it anymore and leaves the room.

Me: “Lady. I am, one, a fifteen-year-old virgin, and two, asexual, with a girlfriend. No. I am not pregnant. Can you let go of my hands and actually do some sort of exam now?”

Doctor: “Sweetie, things like this can happen by accident. Maybe your boyfriend and you were not—”

Before I got the chance to correct her, my mother came back into the room with a nurse, who told the doctor the head nurse was calling her. I ended up being seen by a different doctor, who sent me to do some actual exams. After a lot of different exams and many weeks of pain, whatever I had finally passed. We never knew what it was, but it was certainly not a child!

Live Free Or Twihard

, , , , | Friendly | February 20, 2021

I am sitting on a bench reading a book. As it is old, my mother has made it a plastic cover to protect the original from fading. There’s a group of men on a nearby bench, and one of them has been glaring at me and making comments to his friends that I can’t quite hear. I’m starting to get uncomfortable and decide it is best to leave, but as soon as I close my book, the man gets up and trots up to me.

Man: “Hey, you haven’t been reading that long. What, did something happen to your favorite fairy?”

Me: “My… what?”

Man: “Do you actually think vampires are all shiny and broody like that? God, all you teen girls like the same trash.”

I stare at him, trying to process what is happening, and then it finally hits me. The plastic cover of my book is black, and this guy probably confused it with a rather trashy popular vampire novel. I take my book back out, remove the cover and show it to him.

Me: “Actually, this is a collection of Lovecraft’s works. I also carry Dracula with me, since I am almost done with this one.”

Man: “Oh… um, those are… very good reads… I, um…”

He stuttered all the way back to his bench, where his friends were pretending not to know him. 

For the record, I dislike [Popular Novel] with a passion, but I do not attack people for reading it. Hey, at least they read.

When Push Comes To Punch

, , , , | Learning | February 6, 2021

When I’m in school, maybe nine years old, a new government program gives all children from elementary to high school little laptops with little functionality, aimed to teach kids about technology. Since they can go on the Internet, most kids use them to play games.

I’m sitting outside my classroom before class with a friend and a classmate, with the latter’s five-year-old sister standing near. I have come to hate this child because every time her kinder class crosses paths with mine, she aims to do her best to annoy me, including trying to steal whatever I am holding or have near me.

We are all playing games on our little laptops, nobody is paying attention to the kid, and I have my laptop bag next to me on the bench. The kid approaches her sister and suddenly snatches my bag and takes off through the courtyard. I put my laptop aside and take off after her, expecting to have to force a bathroom door open or call a teacher, because that’s where she usually runs to. But when we are nearing the restroom doors, the girl trips on a loose tile, falls on her face, and starts crying.

I stop, take my bag, and start walking back, but my classmate’s younger brother intercepts me, followed by his sister.

Brother: “You pushed my sister! What the f*** is wrong with you?!”

Me: “I didn’t even to—”

He punches me right in the mouth and I throw a punch back, but his sister and my friends manage to pull us apart. I walk off holding back tears out of pride, and I spend the rest of the day tasting blood.

When the classes are done, I spot my mom amongst the crowd of parents waiting outside our classroom and run to her, but I am stopped by another woman yanking my arm violently.

Woman: “Who the h*** do you think you are, pushing a little girl?! I should teach you some f****** manners myself, you little monster!”

I am starting to cry because this strange woman is screaming in my face and is still holding my arm. Then, I spot the little demon grinning behind her. Next to her is her brother, glaring at me, and then my classmate, pale as a ghost and trying to step away from her family. In the middle of the third or fourth time the woman calls me some form of the words “monster” or “bully,” another voice, equally as angry, rises above the yells.

Mom: “Excuse me.”

My mom makes her way to us, yanks the woman away from me, and hides me behind her.

Mom: “What gives you the right to touch my daughter?”

Woman: “Your little monster pushed my baby to the ground and then punched my boy in the face! I should call the police on you right now!”

My mom turns to me with a questioning look. By now I am in a complete panic, sobbing and hiccuping, but I am able to tell my side, including the brother punching me first. By the time I finish, the brother is trying to hide behind his older sister, and the sister has started defensively crying. Their mother explodes in expletives and curses, but this time talking to her kids.

Woman: “I did not raise you to steal and lie to me, [Sister]! Why in the h***—”

We didn’t hear the rest of it because my mom pulled me away and out of the school, muttering about crazy people and reassuring me that I’d done nothing wrong. 

The next day, the little demon and her brother stayed as far away from me as possible. My classmate came up to me and apologised many times for her siblings’ actions and for not stopping either of them. She turned out to be one of the sweetest girls I ever met, which still baffles me, having witnessed her mother’s behaviour.