“Okay, guys, line up,” coach Johnson bellowed. “ You - Smith - at the head of the line, start the count by shouting out ‘one.’ Then Williams, you’re ‘two’ and so on down the line. Even numbers will be shirts and will cover this goal. Odd numbers will be skins.”
“Three, four, five…” the boys ahead of me counted.
I leaned out of line and counted heads to see if I would be even or odd. If I knew ahead of time I could switch places with Mickey. He knew I hated to be skins and would change places with me.
“Six, seven, eight…” the count continued.
Darn, I’ll be odd! There’s not enough time to switch.
“Thirteen,” my voice quivered. I peeled off my t-shirt, the armor that cloaked the shame of my partially naked body, and ran to the far court. The other boys saw my bony arms and chest that was so flat; I could squeeze between our basement furnace and a column to retrieve an errant Ping-Pong ball. No wonder Uncle Wally called me Spider.
“Okay, Sunshine,” coach Johnson shouted as he heaved a basketball toward me with his .50-caliber-machine-gun-arms. The cannonball shot between my BB-gun-arms, slammed into my chest, and knocked me to the floor.
What’s wrong with me? If only I could look and act like the muscle man in the Charles Atlas comic book ad who kicks sand in the face of a 97-pound weakling. If I were a real man I would punch Mr. Johnson in the face.
“Let’s pick it up, Sunshine,” he said. “I’ve never seen such skinny arms. Let’s put some meat on those bones.”
I dribbled my burden toward the shirts.
Holes Of Light
This song is written for those who feel shame, to support healing. Composed for piano in the key of C Major, Lydian mode.
Do you see
Holes of light
In the walls
Wounds are there,
Of the shame
Shots to hearts,
Missed their mark,
To kill us.
Light is where
Truth is dear.
Heal the hurt
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Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Life Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.