a tale of two kids

When I was eight years old, my dad's company transferred him to Berlin. Our family of five camped out in a one bedroom apartment on Fechnerstrasse for a month or two during the summer before moving to Paris; my mom wasn’t sure if she wanted to live in Germany permanently, so my dad ended up commuting between Paris and Berlin. Frankly, I don’t know why we just didn’t find a bigger place and stay in Berlin, because Berlin was pretty cool in those pre-tear-down-these-walls days, and I’m sure it’s beyond cool now. Regardless, we moved to Paris, but I spent a fair amount of time in Germany for the next 12 or so years.

During that summer in Berlin, we went to dinner at some friends of my dad's. They were an American family who lived in a rather large house in the American Sector of Berlin (if you don’t know the history of the Berlin sectors, you can look them up here. These days, Berlin is just one big happy family). The people we were visiting had a yard and a swing set and two kids, the boy a year or two older than me and a girl a year younger than me. My brother and sister deemed themselves too old to play with us, but I ran off on the swing set with the other two kids. Back in my youth, I was extremely shy; in fact painfully shy. The kind of shy that if anyone looked at me, I’d turn beet red and want to crawl under a rock. So I’m on the swing set with these two characters, just trying to get as high as I can on my swing, when the boy pushed me off and lifted my dress up. I was completely mortified, and I stood there in shock as the boy and the girl began pointing and laughing at my underwear. I don’t really know where the humor lay in that, as all that was showing was my underwear, but you know how cruel kids can be. So I tried like hell to pull my dress back down, but the boy kept lifting it up. The girl asked me what my problem was, and I told her, "Your brother saw my underpants!” and she said, "So what? He sees mine all the time!”.

I was fed up with them and really angry, so I walked away and joined my brother and sister. The rest of the evening, the kids kept making faces at me over dinner and I kept giving them the stink eye. That was the last time I saw them.

Fast forward a few decades. A couple of years ago, my friend Charles (who lives in Williamsburg, VA) told me that he knew someone who worked with my dad in Berlin, Captain So-and-so. The name doesn’t ring a bell. And Charles says, Yeah he's got two kids around your age who live in Williamsburg. It dawned on me that Captain So-and-so is the dude my dad knew in Berlin; he eventually moved to Williamsburg and his kids followed him there. And you know what his kids do? Absolutely fucking nothing. The boy, let’s call him Mikey (it’s his real name, so why not?), loafs around and sponges off all of his friends (his dad having cut him off years ago). He has no real job, and keeps moving to Florida announcing "I’m not coming back!", yet returning a month or two later. I don’t know why people think that Florida is the mecca of all things good; for fucks sake, I lived there for 8 years and know for a fact that certain parts of Florida are the armpits of the United States. For some unknown reason, Charles is good friends with Mikey, friendly enough to lend him his car (which Mikey trashed) and money on occasion. The sister also does nothing. I think she's been sickly these last few years and lives in a trailer, and has people bring her groceries and bums rides off of other people to get around anywhere.

so there was a point to this, which I don’t remember at what I was driving; but that day when they were pulling up my dress to laugh at my private parts, I wished them all the ill-will in the world. And I come to find out that they got it. Obviously I don’t think some disgruntled kid back in 1977 has the capacity to set a voodoo curse on anyone, but it did kind of make me think. What comes around goes around, maybe? Who knows.

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