Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 52

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

It’s easy to slip into a poverty mindset when you grow up poor. Not only is there never enough, but you also absolutely believe there will never be enough. Permanent, debilitating financial ruin is just one mishap away. One unplanned emergency is all it will take to make you homeless, destitute, wanting, etc.

I was never very social as a child. I’m still not, but I recognize the importance of connections, and I do what I can.

I remember one time; I was riding bikes with some boys from the neighborhood where we lived. This happening was such an unusual occurrence for me, in part, perhaps why I remember it at all.

I had a Huffy bike with a banana seat and ‘chopper style’ handlebars. I think it had a ‘sissy bar’ at the back end of the seat, but surely such language is now considered offensive? It was an inverted “U” shaped tube that extended vertically upward out of the seat. You could lean against it as you rode, further inviting the comparison to riding a chopper motorcycle, I guess.

These boys I rode with that day – I don’t remember a single one of their names – had grown restless of riding up and down the same streets repeatedly. One of them suggested going to the ‘Dime Store.’ (I do not remember when that term – ‘dime store’ – fell out of disuse. Do you? I guess such happenings are usually always of the gradual variety.)

The others all thought this was a good plan. They would all disburse, return home, ask their parents for a ‘few bucks,’ then reconvene and ride to the Ben Franklin and buy either candy or toys.

The poverty mindset, however, was already strong in me. I equated asking either parent for a ‘few bucks’ to asking for a spare liver. Impossible.

I remember we disassembled to collect funds; I may have said something noncommittal, and then just drove away and hid somewhere.

There is little that is as toxic as shame. I saw again that the world I lived in was not the same as their world. They moved through a world of abundance. The one I inhabited was one where financial hardships loomed behind every corner.

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