My parents don’t know about this. Actually, I never told anyone about it. We were just kids. You know how children are.
When the builders were done renovating the houses on our road, they dumped a lot of stuff in a vacant lot on the corner. We claimed everything in those days – neighbour’s overgrown hedges that we stalked through like a hurricane, fires that we fed with plastic bags and soggy paper, long tree branches that made us into Zulu warriors, and the half rotten vinyl tiles left on a heap in that empty lot.
Terry and Tony – broken kids from smashed up homes, were bad. If they’re not in prison now, they’re somewhere worse than that. At twelve, I could tell. And I knew nothing.
We snapped the tiles in half, and then in half again, and that made them about 6-inch square. Repeating that made them into three by three and doing it again made them perfect for skimming across the road into someone’s garden. Like I say – we were kids. It was fun. Who would have thought that such a tiny thing could hurt anything!
As soon as I heard the crack, I knew what had happened, and I knew straight away that Terry’s fingers had flicked that fatal fragment.
‘That was yours,’ he said quietly to Tony. No fuss.
By the time the woman had opened her front porch door, examined the cracked window next to it, walked her garden path and crossed the road, I knew, by Tony’s silence, that he had decided to take half of the pain. Part of me knew I should have taken a third. The biggest piece of me wanted no part. All of me still wonders, half a lifetime later, why they didn’t share any of it with me.