This is a short fiction piece that stemmed from the title phrase that stuck in my head for a few days, the result was this story, written originally in my journal, and subsequently edited for online publication.
The dog ran towards the fence, and I followed him. Again, like I did when I was twelve. This time was a lot like that time, a little bit of running away,and a lot of running towards. It seems like I was always running towards something.
* * *
When I was just a little boy, it wasn’t the schoolyard bully that frightened me, it was my uncle Tom. Uncle Tom lived with us, and shared a room with my ma. My dad left us when I was just three, so I have no real memory of him, I only know that uncle Tom was always at home. I don’t know what he did while I was in school, I only knew he was there when I left in the morning, and he opened the door when I got home in the afternoon.
Mom went to work as I was getting up in the morning, and often returned home only as my sister and I set the table for supper. My sister, Laura, went to high school, and took the “big bus” at the same time as I took my school bus. But she stayed after school for clubs, which is what I would be able to do the next year, I hoped.
Between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock is what uncle Tom called our “Little Boy’s Time.” I didn’t like it. Uncle Tom told me that it was normally for boys and their daddy’s, but because I didn’t have one, he had to take over. Because it was “Little Boy’s Time,” I wasn’t allowed to mention it to ma or Laura, even if I wanted to. Also, because it was supposed to be for boys and their dads, I couldn’t tell my friends at school, or I’d get in trouble.
I still thought it was wrong, and knew I had to go to high school, so I could stay after school. Only if ma let me though.
Laura was three years ahead of me, and I wanted so much to catch up, to maybe play soccer, or basketball, anything after school so I didn’t have to do “Little Boy’s Time”
Whenever it was that time, we had to lock our dog, Buster, in the workshop. Uncle Tom said he was a distraction. I reluctantly agreed to locking him up, but I wanted him around afterwards, when I cried.
It was almost summer when Buster managed to break out of the workshop. It was the best day of my life. “Little Boy’s Time” was never fun for me, and I always tried to find a way out of it, and that day was no exception, but uncle Tom was even more angry than ever before. I thought we was going to hurt me more than he ever had.
That’s when the door to the workshop crashed open, and Buster leaped at uncle Tom. Buster bit him so hard that uncle Tom screamed loud enough for the neighbors to hear. He was bleeding a lot, from a bad bite, but uncle Tom didn’t move. He seemed frozen in place, holding himself to keep from bleeding. Buster left him there and ran out othe back door of our house, and I followed. We ran as fast as possible, and I’ve never looked back.
* * *
That was almost twenty years ago, and here I was running after another dog, Blacky this time, only now I was running towards something, not away.
Laura jumped out of her SUV with her husband Tyler and their 2 children. They were here for summer vacation again. Blacky jumped around the twins and I hugged my big sis. She had told me years before about “Little Girl Time,” and how she used her after school activities to protect herself, much as I wanted to do. She ran too, after me, and we helped ma get out from the thumb of “uncle Tom.” He’d be in jail for a few more years, and didn’t know where we all lived, which was good, very good indeed.