I’ll be brief: when I was eight, girls in my class broke into my house while my family was on vacation.
It’s difficult to precisely mark the origin of my ego, but a psychologist’s guess could place it as the prepubescent years when girls came knocking on my door calling my name. From grades one to four, my house was the frequent victim of nicky-nicky-nine-doors and Rapunzel-esque calls to my window from the front lawn. Though I’m sure now that my classmates were nothing more than bored and did what they did to make themselves giggle, some of it certainly went to my head. I’ll tell the three memories I can still recount.
The first is the least substantial: I was upstairs in my room playing with action figures when our door bell rang twice sequentially. “I’ll get it!” I ran downstairs and no one was there. Our house is in a cul-de-sac so it’s easy to see the whole neighbourhood, but there were no signs of life. It was winter though, so a sizeable snow pile rested in the middle of the street’s dead-end circle. That is where the troublemakers were noticed hiding after the third ring and answer. The tricks became so frequent that my whole household anticipated half of any doorbell rings to be the girls from my school.
You see, it wasn’t always the same two girls. It was rotating pairs of about five of my female classmates. The second occasion began the same as the first: the doorbell rang and my mother answered it. “Benny, Ellie and Mackie are here!” It wasn’t the first time the girls had knocked and stuck around, but it was much more rare than the ding-dong-ditch we were used to. The pair nervously asked if I wanted to go to school with them to play around. I said sure and we headed out. It was the spring months now; it was warm as we weaved our way through neighbourhood backyards to approach the schoolyard’s far back corner. I asked what the girls wanted to do, and they suspiciously told me that I’d have to wait and see. We walked to the wooded area at the far side of the playground. I swung on branches as they guided me though the familiar bush until a small boulder was presented in front of me. “Do you know what this is, Benny?” They asked. “It’s the kissing rock,” they answered for me. Ah. Of course. They told me to sit, and then next a twist: to close my eyes. I obeyed. At this moment you might be thinking what the good-gracious is going on? You’re not alone in that. Eight-year old Benny was thinking the same. Two girls nervously fidgeting as they sat an unsuspecting boy onto a rock in the woods. But what followed was rather innocent and cute from the privileged perspective of the future, with the rose-coloured light from fifteen years distance. Two very quick, strategic kisses on my cheek, one from Ellie and one from Mackie. Then they sent me on my way home and that was that.
The third, the break-in: this one was during the fall. My family went out of town for what may have been a day or ten, I can’t remember. When we got back, I went up to my room to once again play with my action figures but something was off. The knick-knacks on top of my dresser were moved. Nothing major, but still noticeable. I stepped back, observed other parts of my room. Everything else seemed normal. Then, in the drawer where I kept some personal items: a note. Of course there was a note. I wish I kept it to this day, but I remember it seemed to be an afterthought. It wasn’t a planned letter to be planted in my sock drawer, instead it was just a corner ripped off a page in my room. It was cryptic and said something about getting back my pen at school. I don’t think the girls did anything too out of line, besides the B&E. Well, actually, there was no breaking. We’re not certain how they entered the house, but we were pretty sure they went through the code-locked garage door rather than the key-locked front one. I called Ellie’s house with our home phone. She giggled on the line but fessed up to being in my room. My parents talked to her parents too, but they only received a “girls will be girls” response. The whole situation was weird. Weird as all hell. And just one tale in a long list of peculiarities.
Lock your doors.
B.F. Greeno, aka
The Early Ego