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Toilet Paper and Tape

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I remember that day.
Do you?
That bike I
couldn't ride.
You took it upon yourself
to teach me.
I was scared to get on,
so
you lifted me up
and when I wouldn’t pedal,
you gave me a tiny
push. Yeah, it was scary
at first, but a second later
I felt invincible.

Then the inevitable crash
into the fast approaching fence.
My knee split open,
my neck bled.

You picked me up,
hugged me to your chest,
and carried me home,
not caring care
that your brand new shirt
became colored with
my blood.

When we made it home,
you carried me up
all the stairs.
And when the babysitter
freaked out,
you comforted me
so I would stop crying. When
you realized there were no Band-Aids
you made some out of
toilet paper and tape. When
mommy came home and
wanted an explanation,
you took control again,
calming the hysterical mommy
and keeping me comfortable.
You took the blame, too,
even though I knew
I shouldn’t have been on the bike
without her supervision.

Next came the compliment.
So naturally.
You simply said,
“You know, you’re really pretty.”
I bet you didn’t know I was fighting
through my awkward stage.
You certainly didn’t know it
was exactly what I needed.
The compliment grounded me
when I was floating dangerously,
without anything to hold on to.
This time
you caught me before I fell.

Then there was that day—
you know. I was
walking home,
but I wasn’t
alone.
He was there.
Hollister shirt.
Hollister Jeans.
High-top sneakers.
Dark empty eyes fixed on me
The distance between us never
shrank or grew—
always constant.
I was scared. Unsure of
what to do. The moments
until I reached safety blurred
together and I began to
flinch at the slightest sounds.
As I approached the house,
you stepped off of the
school bus. One look at my
face told you something was
wrong.
You put on your suit of armor
and took off down that
hill, while preparing
for the worst. You chased
him away, never questioning
your duty to
protect me.
Then you walked
back up the hill and
gave me a piggy back ride
all the way home.

From the first time
you picked me up
to then, nothing had changed.
Even now, I know you
will always be there if I
need you.
Thank you.





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