Having watched boxing on television, I knew to shuffle my feet and throw my left fist out in a jab that connected squarely with the Tony’s shoulder. His big, brown eyes looked straight at me, not blinking. He refused to move.

The noise of the yelling, my heart beating in my ears, tennis shoes scraping over the gravel, everything fell away and became distant. I saw my fist tapping on Tony’s shoulder. I noticed small white clouds hung in the pale blue sky. 

Tony’s young, brown eyes began to fill with tears, and I became sick with fear. I knew if he refused to fight, it would be worse for me. He fell to the ground and curled into a ball. 

“Get up, Tony!” the brother yelled

My eyes burned and I lost hold of tears, which flowed down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and waited for the beating.

“Go on, get out of here!”

When I opened my eyes, the circle of boys had parted.  I ran all the way home.



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