Let’s go back to when Joan and I were 12 and 9, halfway to ten. A boy from school — kind of a thug who was bigger than the rest of the boys in Joan’s class because he’d been held back — had a crush on her and followed her home from school. Although Joan could hold her own around girls, exhibiting a devil-may-care attitude that made them envious, boys — especially big boys with loud voices like this one — made Joan watchful and quiet.
I watched from the living room window as Joan avoided the boy around the spherical juniper bush until he grabbed her sleeve and pulled her close to kiss her. When she screamed, I dashed out the front door and rammed head first into the boy’s side.
He turned, enraged. “Who do you think you are, you little twit?” he asked derisively. Joan wiped away a tear.
“Leave my sister alone!” I screamed, face flushed, taking s step back as I raised my fists. Joan laughed.
“You’re both crazy like your mom,” he sneered before spitting into the juniper and sauntering away.
Although Joan put her hand over her mouth as we walked toward the front porch, I could see the smile beneath it.
Now let’s move forward.