I used to get so excited when the school bell rang afternoons. It meant running home and heading to Andover Park to claim a swing – until an older boy named John invaded my life.
John spotted Mom and her mechanic, Danny, riding alone in her car. John, a lanky, black, high school student with thick glasses, towered over my skinny four-foot-eleven frame.
I was in seventh grade, only eleven years old. John trapped me in the middle school hallway after school in front of my locker. He put one hand on my chest, thrust my chin up with his other hand, forcing my head back against the hard metal slats, and then whispered into my ear.
“Do what I tell you, and I won’t tell your daddy your mama’s a whore,” he threatened, and then walked away. Plastered to my locker, I sucked in a deep breath trying to settle…
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