Picture a tarmac behind a rural, one-storey school in Halton County. It is morning recess. A boy named Walter lay prone on the tarmac, writhing in agony. His body drew a pack of nosy onlookers. I loved Walter like the brother I didn't have. When I spotted him there, a demon possessed me. I drew my own crowd with my screeching, writhing and spinning. For a few minutes, my bad behaviour distracted the ambulance attendant from his purpose.
The rest of the day continued its downward spiral. I lost a fountain pen, a gift from my mother who was in the hospital getting cancer treatments. My guilt-driven obsession to locate the pen caused me to miss the school bus. Too embarrassed to admit the truth, I told school personnel never mind, I could easily walk home. Two halves of my mind bickered: stick to the road or short-cut it through the fields. The demons prevailed. Up and over fences, tears plastered to my cheeks, I tried to make sense of a world from its backside. Fenced farm animals perked up in response to my howling, "Somebody take me home."
Finally, just before sunset, I happened upon a familiar path affectionately known as Lover's Lane. I stumbled up the steps of my caregiver's home, Walter's house. The tears on his mother's face revealed her pain. "Where have you been?" Her grip on my shoulders told me that day's bad behaviour was forgiven.