It was red, puffed up and “angry” as my mom would call it. My son said he didn’t know where he had gotten it but my mother’s intuition flagged that “I don’t know” as a lie. I gently twisted his wrist to follow the thin line to the lower side of his elbow. My 10 year old looked up at me with a worried expression. He might have been concerned that I could see through his cover up, or he was scared of whatever gave him this. I smiled reassuringly to my boy, but inside my mommy bear instincts wanted to destroy whatever had marked my child. I pressed my lips to the line, and hoped the old remedy would work. My son smiled back and put his hand back in his pocket when I let his hand go. “It doesn’t hurt moma. Not really.” He said. I sighed and he ran off to go play outside.
“It’s the badaman.”
I turned back to look at the little voice. My baby girl sat in the living room, playing with her dolls. “The what baby?”
“The badaman” She repeated.
I walked over to her, and knelt down to get to her level. “Rylie, who’s the badaman?” I asked.
“I dunno.” She looked up at me. “Colton said it was Dillon’s fault.”
I was concerned. I watched my son outside, talking to Dillon in front of his house across the street. Maybe they were just playing a game. I went to go do some housework.
The second scratch was deeper. Yesterday’s wound was long, but shallow. Today I could tell that even though it wasn’t terribly big on the surface, the increased pain my son displayed, and the swelling under the scab was much worse. “Son, where did you get this? What are you doing?” I was much more insistent this time. Colton winced in pain as I inadvertently squeezed his ankle and stretched the injury. I let go immediately. “Oh I’m sorry son.” I couldn’t apologize fast enough.
He looked to be in pain but gave me a consolatory smile anyway. “It’s ok momma.” He said.
“Baby you’re going to have to tell me what’s going on.” My son looked away from me. “COLTON JAMES!”
“I can’t momma.” He said, and for a moment I was stunned.
“Baby, you can tell me anything.” I said. I couldn’t hide the hurt in my voice.
He looked down in shame. “Can I go?” He asked, quietly.
I stared at him for a long time before sighing in defeat. He was as stubborn as his late father. I’d have to let it go for now. “Yes but we will talk about this again later. Go brush your teeth.” It told him. My son left to the bathroom.
The next day came with another scratch. This one on his back. I was livid.
“Colton, honey, you have to tell me who’s doing that to you.”
“Mom. I.. I can’t.” He said. “Don’t make me cause that will make it worse.”
I cupped his face and looked him in the eyes. “Son, there is nothing you can’t tell me. If someone is hurting you then I need to know. Is it Dillon?”