Fear, Shame, Embarrassment, and How They Cut

I once knew this girl who stole a blade from me. It wasn't exactly stolen, more like it was taken away without a presented incentive for me to attempt a rescue. She was older than I, taller and stronger, probably not smarter but that didn't help me much.

It was a summer in the late 80s or early 90s and I was in the Dominican Republic. Los Alcarrizos, thats where my aunt-godmother lives; thats where I ran across a field behind the houses with the other kids and embarrassingly stepped into a pool of mud, just as the kids imagined a New Yorker would. It was right where my brother and I competed for smiles from Josie; where my cousin Yuri constantly tried to kiss me, but failed. So many of my visits to the Dominican Republic are forever committed to Los Alcarrizos, low concrete layers of houses, dirt roads and steep hills, random fields, avocado trees, and the smell of wet tangerines after a fresh rain. It was also here, in Los Alcarrizos, that after one of those fresh summer rains, a shaving blade that I had been entertaining since the morning was removed and taken hostage.

I don't remember her name but she was the neighbor's daughter. She was the older sister of this annoying kid, who was around my age, who I had just pushed off my aunt's property, off a platform, down to his front dirt (there was no lawn). I pushed her brother a few days prior to her stealing my blade. I only pushed her brother because he kept asking for it, literally.

"If you're such a bad ass from New York then prove it...Push me off this ledge. Go 'head, push me."

Translated from spanish of course. After a long, monotone looping of his request, I became bored or irritated and I complied with his order, he thanked me by crying and maybe hurting his arm. When he called his mother I made a break for it. Not that anyone would believe his story, even if it were true; I was considered an angel.

His older sister, however, she saw right through me. She was about thirteen or fourteen and politely asked to see my blade as I stood outside my aunt-godmother's house. She let me have it in the open, very straightforward did she smile and tell me what she thought of me, that she knew I pushed her little brother. I was barely paying attention, I just wanted my blade back and made a face to reply to the smell that followed her like a disciple. After she wrapped up her veritable accusations, I asked for the return of my blade. She must have misunderstood, because instead of placing the blade back on my palm which I held extended, she did something quite contrary. One would wonder if my spanish was indeed that awful, that cock-eyed as to have someone confuse, "give me back my blade," for "shove my blade down your pants."

I stood before this older, taller, stronger girl and pouted my entire face with annoyance. "Is she serious?" I must've said with my eyes. All the while that disciple of hers warmed like an aura around her, like an atmosphere. I almost had to hold my breath but my anger usually demands air through flared nostrils. I asked her once again to return my blade, release the hostage, let's walk away from this peacefully. She replied with an invitation, said that if I wanted the blade so bad I'd have to reach in and pull it back out.

Now, don't get me wrong, she was dirty. She looked like a dark, wet alley cat. Nothing like Josie or her older sister, who wore long skirts and smiled like a piece of something sweet. There was nothing sweet about this kidnapper, this terrorist pervert and that sour smell which perfumed her like a bad frame. Nothing sweet about her smile or her husky voice, yet when it came down to whether or not I would reach into her crotch for my blade, none of this made an impression on my decision. I blushed at the idea and in the end, I didn't get my blade back but not due to disgust, rather because of fear.

Soon after, I left with my family to another town to visit some other relatives, my cousin, Yuri probably came with us. I never saw that girl again, neither on that trip or any future return. She ran off with something I was scared to do, something sharp and intimately fresh. As a result, there is a possession of mine wandering along the past, snuggled soundly in the crotch of a teenage alley cat; and when I see an older dominican woman, who is questionable in character, I think only of my blade and its rightful, manual owner.

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