Short Story: I Was Only Eight

I Was Only Eight
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
When I was eight-years-old, I didn’t know anything.  I was a silly kid, hooked on Jem and the Holograms, reading Wonder Woman comics, and dancing to Lionel Richie’s song, All Night Long.  I was fascinated with Bruce Lee, and my first Horror movie was Poltergeist.  I would spend the nights on the couch between my parents, watching The Twilight Zone, and I believed that there were monsters under the bed and in the closet.  But the real monsters were waiting for me at school for I was not well-liked, always fighting with Evan and the gang, and I would have been alone, if not for a few friends, one friend in particular.
At eight-years-old, I was still trying to understand who I was, and I mimicked everything.  At her birthday party, I tried to be silly, placing an arm around a friend, making dumb jokes.  I loved to laugh.  Laughter back then was a great sound to me, and we all laughed and giggled as we watched a Cinderella play.  And after the play, we were all smiles still as we found a beautiful, large table set up with a birthday cake, but that’s when she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away into a darkened corner.
This woman, who was the mother of my friend, the birthday girl, was hurting my arm.  Her nails dug into my flesh.  The look in her eyes burned through my youth.  I tried to pull away, wanting to return to the fun, to my friend, but her grip only hardened.  And she said, “You cannot be Alison’s friend.”
“Why not,” I asked.
“Because you’re a Jew, and she will not be friends with people like you.”  And she finally let go of my arm, leaving a hand print behind, and I remember standing there, watching her walk away, trying to understand her words.  “You cannot be Alison’s friend because you’re a Jew,” but I was only eight-years-old. What did I know of Hate?
Shortly after the incident, I still tried to be Alison’s friend, but she shut me out.  She repeated her mother’s words.  The wool was pulled over her eyes, and she was no longer a little girl.  Neither was I, and maybe that’s when my childhood started to end.  All because I was different from her, but were we really so different?  And why are so many people blinded by Hate?  

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