The soles of my bare feet pounded the pavement. Loose pieces of gravel met the already-toughed skin.

While my legs sped my body past the houses toward the end of my street, my arms swung widely, back to front. Doing so with my arms always made me feel like I was running faster.

I threw a glance over my shoulder and spotted my older brother slamming the door to our house. Before we made eye contact, my neck twisted back forward and my eyes settled on the curve of the road.

I knew he was behind me. Not far now. With his taller, leaner body he was always faster than me. Stronger than me.

I let out a strangled, frustrated scream as it became hard to breathe through the humidity and the tiny rocks started cutting skin. I heard my brother laugh.

Two seconds and his arms grabbed me.


My dad liked to trick us kids. We’d do something that warranted a whipping and he’d act nonchalant, as if there was no need to discipline us. Ten, twenty, something an hour later he’d come out of nowhere, belt in hand.

So, we learned to watch. If dad went anywhere near his bedroom in the hour after we’d done something bad, there was a 90 percent chance he was grabbing his belt.

Whenever I’d see my dad calmly make his way into his room, I’d throw myself out the front door and run. This is how I attempted to elude punishment. Sometimes I’d come back home and sit in the front yard until I was sure my dad forgot about me.

But sometimes my older brother thought it would be funny to catch me and bring me back.