Yesterday, C, an old, old friend of mine from twenty-one years ago, showed up at my work, browsing through merchandise. I had forgotten that I had run into her a couple of years before in this slough of bureaucracy that I have now joined, so her sudden appearance struck me with anxiety. C and I became friends when I moved to this province in grade three. We were inseparable. We walked to school together, had sleepovers, spent every recess with each other, and she was even my first kiss. Then, in grade five, and third girl joined us. E had recently moved to the city, and we quickly became a trio, but this was not to last long. Both C and E began vying for my time alone away from the other, which created mounting tensions until one day, C and I came to school to find that no one would speak a word to us. E had used her influence to effectively have C and I shunned. For the first two weeks of the shunning, C and I clung to each other and spent hours talking it over, trying to figure out why this was happening and what E had told everyone to convince them of this course of action. It was terrible, but we at least had each other. Then, (and I’m sure you know what came next), I came to school one morning to find that I had been utterly abandoned. C had joined with E and the others and would speak not one word to me. Now I had no one, and the terrible silence perpetrated by my classroom continued for the rest of my grade five year. A couple of weeks after C had left me, she approached me in the library to apologize, saying that she had to do it, or she would still be like I was, friendless. Cold comfort. I became suicidal, I kept to myself, and I stayed away from those who tried to get closer to me. It was one of the worst times of my life. At the end of the school year, C moved to another part of the city and went to a new school for grade six, so I only saw her once after that. My parents and I were driving somewhere, and I looked out the window at one point to see C helping to wash a car. She was wearing the yellow, flowered sundress that I envied. I remember that car ride like emotional memory flashbacks in movies where everything is soundless and in slow motion. At that moment, I knew that even though I had moved on and made new friends, I missed her. And I understood what she had done. Anyway, back to seeing her at my work..... It was so unexpected, there she was, and I didn’t know if she recognized me at all, but I think she did, so I went all dorky and tried to keep my eyes averted, as though my not seeing her would aid in her not seeing me, and I tried to keep myself on the other side of this large post, and even though I was on cash and couldn’t really avoid being seen too well, I managed to duck away just when she and her friend went up to buy something so that the other cashier would deal with it. All the while, I was trying to appear to be behaving normally and not at all schizoid. Why, you ask, would I go to such lengths after all these years? Because even though I forgave her and moved on, I would rather not have to ever confront any remnants of that reality in my present life. But she works in the same building! I must deal with this. Next time, I’ll try maturity.
On to less personal-confessiony type things..... What is a “drop-kick murphy”? Does anyone know? I overheard it in a conversation at a bar yesterday, so it could be a drink..... Oh, skip it. I can’t believe I've never heard of them. They’re a band that’s been around for years. Check them out. They’re apparently quite good.
Grade Five Facts and Links:
* The Grade Five Syndrome.
* I used to love the school supply list. They were always printed on coloured paper for some reason, and the sight of this list would bring a rush of smells from my memory – fresh erasers, white glue, paper, and the ink from those erasable pens that were so popular back in 1982/83.
* My favourite elementary school names from Google searches: Little Tor, Strangel, Enchanted Lake, University, Lady of the Assumption, Avocado, Army Trail, Battleground, Richneck, Prettyboy, Fishkill, and my personal favourite, Hellgate.