I must have been 9 years old. Maybe 10. It’s hard to keep these facts straight when you’re trying to forget them at the same time. It had been a pretty nice Christmas. There were mountains of snow. As far as I remember, it was balmy for that time. I was on the way to the schoolyard with my hockey stick. I can hear the other guys shooting the orange ball with their hockey stick against the wall. Jimmy hadn’t come there with the nets yet.
Steve told me to go to Jimmy’s and help him with the nets. A smile came on my face. Being an immigrant kid, and having been bullied to that day, it was an honour for me to be important. I left my stick with Steve and dashed towards Jimmy’s. Did I mention thatbhe was a distant cousin? Not that distant. Maybe 2nd or so once removed. Nonetheless, our parents knew they were cousins. His mother told me he was in the basement. She was in a hurry and sped off.
I went to the basement and there was Jimmy. He was with Rex, who looked even more ruthless than his kingly name. He was a gigantic and angry German shepherd. Jimmy smiled in that eerie way where I could only see the whites of his eyes. He was a creepy guy who had always treated me well. This time he made Rex come towards me and smell me. I was very scared. He told me not to move or Rex might bite my penis. Rex was drooling and smiling, but I was still shaking. Jimmy hit the dog and the dog started barking and coming on me. He threw me down and I hit my shoulder against the wall.
Jimmy’s brother came down from somewhere. He told Jimmy to stop. They both looked at me and laughed. They told me it was over. It was ok. I was even allowed to carry Jimmy’s net to the schoolyard. The day ended as if nothing had happened. I told my cousin about it. She was the only one I could trust. She took care of it somehow. She always seemed to have my back.
It took me a while to trust dogs again. But I love them now. I understand it was the humans that were the savages.
About 20 years later, I hit Jimmy a few times while 2 others held him. Till this day, I would do it again instead of forgiving him. Very unchristian maybe, but very gratifying.