How I Lost Kathy

Lenny went down to one knee beside the
dump truck that belonged to my uncle. My
cousin, Ben, had landed a solid punch to
Lenny’s jaw. Lenny was stunned, but he scrambled
back up to his feet, his fists up,
backing away from Ben, who charged with a
flurry of punches, but landed none. Lenny landed
one punch to Ben’s abdomen, but Ben was
unfazed. Just then, David, the youngest cousin stepped
in to take a turn and Ben backed
away. David, fists up, smirk on his face,
bounce in his step, just before he landed
on his butt from a single punch by
Lenny. David was finished, trying not to cry.
Wayne, the oldest cousin, aka “Little Wayne,” having
been named after his father, stepped into the
zone and floored Lenny, who saw Wayne and
put up his guard to no avail. Lenny
was done. Lenny, who my mom called “Lanny”
and so, sometimes I called him “Lanny,” but
whose name was Lenny said, “I quit.” My
cousins laughed and walked out into the field
looking for horned toads, which they called “horny
toads,” which we all called “horny toads.” I
just stood there. I didn’t even know the
reason for the fight, but guessed there was
no reason, just sport, just good fun. I
didn’t dare say a word to Lenny, apologize
for my cousins brutality, offer support. My cousins
would have known, somehow, I felt sorry for
him. They would have been wrong. I didn’t
feel sorry for Lenny. I didn’t feel anything
for Lenny. I was thinking of his sister,
Kathy, or was it Cathy. Kathy was cute
and sweet to me. We even held hands
once. Now, however, I knew Lenny would tell
her about the fight and how I just
stood there and did nothing and said nothing,
and I would never see her again. As
it turned out, I never saw Kathy again.

by Thomas Wigington

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