My brick-and-mortar friend (term credit: Marie) Mairzy is perhaps wondering if I am going to suddenly confess a childhood crush on another old classmate of mine, her husband August. We were in a combined-grade classroom, and August was in the younger grade while I was in the older grade. A grade makes a huge difference at that age, and I don't remember any of the younger boys even being on our Crush Radar--even though there was such a shortage of boys in the older grade. The grade-younger boys just seemed sooooo much younger.
I will, however, tell a story that involves August, and it is a story of an incident I consider one of the most mortifying situations of my entire childhood. ...How's THAT for a sure-to-disappoint build-up?
My family occasionally went over to August's house to play games in the evening. (Yeah, NOW the roller rink looks pretty fierce, doesn't it?) This was a ton of fun, and 99% of the reason is that August's family is the kind of family that, if you were going to have an arranged marriage, you'd be slipping the matchmaker bribes to marry you into it. They are NICE and FUNNY and SMART (also healthy and attractive with good teeth and hair!), and totally righteous dudes overall without being, you know, all treacly and lame about it.
One evening as we were saying our goodbyes, August's little sister (who was and is the sort of person you'd describe as Bringing Joy to the World, she is such a cutie/sweetie/sunshine) asked if I could sleep over. My parents had a policy for these situations, and that policy was No Spontaneous Plans: it's too difficult to arrange these things on the spot, and too hard for parents to say no if they want to. But for some reason they let this offer stand (THANKS), and four adults and four children waited to hear my RSVP.
I am not sure you know this about me, but I am not a "go with the flow" type. And so the thought of changing course like this and spending the night was...startling. My first protest, in fact, was that I didn't have my THINGS with me, and of course August's mother said that was no big deal and that they could even rustle up a brand-new toothbrush for me. And then everyone waited again.
But here was my REAL reason, the protest I couldn't say: "SPEND THE NIGHT??? In the house of a BOY from my CLASS???? Wearing PAJAMAS?????"
I mean! Imagine! BRUSHING MY TEETH down the hall from A BOY! Having him see me in the morning with Sleep Hair!!! PEEING IN THE SAME BATHROOM. It was unimaginable. Or rather: far too imaginable. If I had previously considered the grade-younger boys "SO much younger," I suddenly felt they were in fact my exact same age.
This is, however, not the kind of reason you can give when four adults and the boy in question are waiting for your reply. And here is another thing I'm not sure you know about me: I don't think quickly on my feet. Early in my educational career I considered law, but rejected it because a trial lawyer (which was the only kind of lawyer I knew about) needs to think quickly on her feet. Well, and also I was scared of the bar exam. Because I like to fear things way in advance if possible.
And so I needed an excuse, and I needed one fast, and I am a rabbit-in-the-headlights thinker, and so what I said was that I thought I was coming down with a cold. I believe I added a little fake cough for emphasis. This was so patently an Excuse Lie, especially when offered after the objection about not having my Things, it was insulting to all present. Like saying, "I can't---I need to wash my hair." I'd just spent the entire evening with them: if I were indeed coming down with a cold, I'd just given them a hostess gift of GERMS. And I'd betrayed no symptoms of said cold, not in several hours of visit. LIE LIE LIE GLARING LIE. I knew instantly, but there was no fixing it: even if I could have gone back in time, I still had no good reason to give in its place.
All the way home, I died. I continued dying when I should have been sleeping. I died over the next several days, and then periodically--to this very day--I revisit that scene to die some more. (STILL have no good reason.)
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...