“I can’t go to school with a broken nose!” That’s all I remember thinking. I was twelve. I ran down my stairs holding my nose and left a long trail of blood behind me. I yelled to my brother “Damn it, call Sky!”
In my mind, I knew that Sky would somehow know how to help me. If nothing else, she would at least know how to get the blood out of the carpet before my mother came home. She figured out how to patch drywall at the age of eleven after a failed handstand left a butt print in her living room wall.
Sky was and is someone that I consider a “BFF”. I met her in the 3rd grade. There I was the new girl, and I was already labeled “Farty Pants”. Being the fat, socially awkward kid that I was, I just sat on the playground alone. After a few days, I noticed that none of the other kids asked her to play. She’d obviously been in school for a while; surely someone wanted to play “Red Rover” or dodgeball with her. I couldn’t figure it out because I knew she was smart. I’d seen her raise her hand in class, and mutter answers when everyone else just sat there looking glassy eyed.
There was just something about her. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I finally got up the courage to go talk to her out on that playground. It was partly out of desperation, but it was more that I wanted to know why. I later got my answer. She knew abuse too. That’s the thing about being labeled “broken”. We somehow manage to find others that other people consider to be “broken” too.
Of course, Sky did help me. My father had long since gone. She kept my brother safe at her house and told me to call the Police. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? Of course the complete shit-storm that followed afterwards was worse than the bruises. My mother had called her friend. That friend just happened to be the mother of someone in my class that I didn’t like. That girl made my life a living hell from that day forward. She told everyone that the reason I was not in school the following week was because my father had “lost his mind” and beat the hell out of me. One of my closely guarded secrets was out. I happen to agree with “Stuart Smalley”. We ARE only as sick as our secrets.
I thank God every single day for the friendships that I have. They have been my shining lights for so long. If it weren’t for my friends, I might have ended up just like one of those teens that “Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker” talked about in an SNL skit. My friends have guided me in so many ways, and I love them all dearly.
I’m a firm believer that there are signs everywhere that give us signals to lead us down the right path. Everything is connected. It is how we use that information that counts.
And for those of you who don’t know who Matt Foley is: