|Once upon a time there was <b>a childhood that had always played a part in the creative power of digressions, regressions, indiscretions, and conversations that went everywhere and nowhere but nonetheless satisfied, made whole, the heart and mind of being--these being Bruce, Matt, and Ted, friends, sons of single mothers, children of sin</b>.
Every day <b>after school they would walk together, though in different third-grade classes, to their babysitters' house, along streets lined with poplar and elm. Every day, they would pass time with Gene and Mildred, the elderly couple supplementing their retirement pensions and spreading the word of Christ anyway they could. Bruce, Matt, and Ted would play in the back yard, digging holes, building forts in the bushes, catching daddy-long-legs, playing tag and freeze tag, and scratching games of Tic-Tac-Toe into the side of the concrete back steps. When the sun went down, they'd be inside, playing dominoes, taking piano lessons, saying prayers, or watching pro wrestling on TV.</b>.
One day,<b> one of the boys broke a window, having thrown a rock at another boy. The sound was heard, the shattered glass and the rock were found, but no one would say who'd done it.</b>
Because of that,<b> Gene took down the wooden paddle from its hook above the pantry. The three boys were sat down in the kitchen, and each asked in turn who'd thrown the rock that had broke the window. Gene clapped the paddle against his palm to make them fear. Still, no one would say who'd done it.</b>
Until finally,<b> Mildred bent each boy firmly across her knee, and Gene whack, whack, whacked each boy until he screamed out in pain. Yet, none would say who'd done it. Frustrated, sweating, and even swearing, Gene gave in, Mildred relented, and each boy went home with his mother, red faced, moist eyed, lips sealed tighter with anger and resentment. TV's were watched, dinners eaten, beds slept in, school attended, days passing into weeks, into months, into years. Years passed, childhood passed, friends parted. Bruce, Matt, and Ted never met again once their own families had started. And still no one would say who'd done it, but all remembered, and in remembering felt whole, in the heart and mind of being.</b>