The Kid Place
The kid place was Dunsmore Park, where older girls I didn’t know threw darts into the sky and yelled at me when one of the darts hit the ground beside my foot because I’d been in the way and could have been killed. That pretty much sums up childhood, I think, a constant attempt to get it right, even though something so small as standing on the wrong square foot of grass could mean a dart to the head, and resulted in being told, once again, that I was doing it wrong.
At Dunsmore Park there was a hierarchy of girls and for some reason I felt safe being a little sassy, something I never would have attempted at home. A preppy teenager told me I had “an attitude problem” and though I dared not let her see how much it meant to me, it felt like a compliment because in reality I was too complacent, too meek and small to have any kind of attitude at all, much less a problematic one.
I remember waiting in line at the drinking fountain at the bottom end of the park. When it was my turn the boys would taunt, “Save some for the fishes.” I was always so thirsty, even then.