All of the boys were now in the clubhouse, and they began to tease me about whether I was a girl or a boy. Karen was clearly a girl, as she had full breasts. I did not.
“Look at her ugly face,” came out of the mouth of one of the idiots.
“Look at her goofy leg,” some other stupid boy said.
“Hey, shut up, you punk,” I said. At least I could stand up for her even if she couldn’t do it herself.
Then, “Hey, let’s make her show us her boobs,” one of them said. Karen, like a wild animal already wounded, cried out a loud, whiny noise. I hoped someone would come and help us. Fat chance, as we were pretty far into the woods.
The biggest slob of the group, who was filthy and stunk up the place, had a look of greed in his eyes as if he were about to suck down a bunch of candy to add to the fat that dripped from his face, fingers, and stomach. Yuck, he made me sick. He reached out to grab Karen’s breasts, and she let out another of those whiny screams. If nothing else, the birds were scattering. Then the spoiled, overzealous, cocky boys began grabbing at her breasts and pulling my hair. We were done for.
All of a sudden, out of the forest came the sounds of running feet.
Karen was still crying and I was barely breathing I was so angry. We heard a noise above our heads and within seconds a big guy appeared and gaped inside the hole.
I do not know what the gentle, disfigured young man above us saw, but his face contorted after taking in the scene. I was so thankful; because in that moment I heard bratty boys turn into wimpy sappy, little, fearful idiots. I was relieved, but had no clue what was happening.
“It’s him! Run for your life!”
“Let me out of here!”
Who was hollering? I had never seen boys scramble so quickly. Some did not even use the ladder, but clawed their way out of that hole. Karen and I were astonished, as was the stranger.
We heard the sounds of the boys as they ran screaming and hollering through the woods back toward their homes.
“Look out! Get out of my way!”
“Let’s get Dad!”
The three of us remained in place. Where had this stranger come from? Karen’s face softened as she looked at the man-boy. I could not really see his face because his back was to the sun and I was facing it. He then lay down on the ground and reached his hand into the hole to help us out. He and I helped Karen climb out of this chamber of girlish fears. As I ascended the ladder, the stranger reached his hand to help me.
It came to me all at once. He was the boy we had been running from and looking for all summer. He was the supposed “psycho.” I knew a little about kids that were mentally impaired from school. I could tell he was challenged. He could not speak clearly, but whatever he mumbled it was clear that he was especially fond of Karen.
It was kind of cool and sweet. For two young, imperfect people, they were a perfect fit. He walked us to the edge of the woods close to Karen’s house, and along the way he stopped to look at the wondrous beauty of the woods. Karen was enchanted and I was humbled. This boy’s disability made him a hero, and his heart made us safe. What others judged to be dangerous was an illusion. He had no idea that those boys feared him. He simply responded to the cries of what to him may have been a wounded animal in the woods where he spent most of his time. He didn’t even have to say a word to frighten those macho boys. He reminded me of what I worked so hard at being, a protector of the innocent.
Finally, someone had come to protect me.
Someone had come.
To protect me.