Debbie and I watched as the girls diligently created a masterpiece.
One girl lay down on a large sheet of paper while another traced her body in black crayon. For the next hour the eight girls worked together dressing her in colored wax
, while the artist of the group carefully crafted her face. "Josephine
" was born.
We pinned her up on the wall where she could watch our gatherings
. She became part of the group. We included her in our circle.
One day, one of the girls looked at Josephine. "Her legs are crooked". Debbie walked over and ripped a foot off of Josephine and handed the piece to the girl. Six of the girls laughed. The one with the torn paper looked puzzled. The artist cried out, "NO!"
Another girl said that her clothes were out of style. Riiiiiiiiiiiiippppp She too had a piece of Josephine. The girls started laughing( except for the artist) and picked on Josephine who stared at them with vacant eyes not offering up a word in defense. Every uncaring, hurtful remark led to more of Josephine being torn apart. The girls tried to get the artist to join them but she refused. She was in tears as the rest shredded Josephine.
"You're hurting her feelings! Stop it!"
Debbie and I didn't interfere with the unfolding drama.
Finally when there was nothing left but Josephine's face, the artist grabbed it and cried out, "ENOUGH! No more!".
We gave the girls some tape and told them to put Josephine back together. All but one still thought this was a game and continued laughing as they taped her up, carefully matching up the pieces.
When they hung her back up on the wall, one said that Josephine didn't look the same.
The artist, eyes flashing, turned on the group angrily. "Of course she's not the same! She will never be the same again! No matter how much you try to patch her up she will always have the scars now. You did this to her! You can't take back the hurtful things. Think before you speak!"
I have never seen a group of girls become so quiet, quite so fast. They learned something valuable that day, invisible scars still hurt. From that day forward if a spiteful remark was made by one, another would pipe up, "you're pulling on Josephine!"