Before you accuse me of living in the past, let me defend myself. Stuff just crops up in my memory. It’s not as if I think about this stuff all day long. I swear!
But after writing about the quiet girl, it got me to thinking about the boys.
The boys in fifth grade.
I thought they were my good friends. They were popular, but not ‘too’ popular. One was tall and skinny and smart and funny. His friend? Not so tall and a little more solid. And also smart and funny. They were always together. Kind of like Laurel and Hardy. (Not to ruin the story or actually not even all that related but a little cathartic, he was a lot less funny when we re-met as adults. Or at least, he didn’t amuse me. At all.)
So, in fifth grade.
The tall guy. (And when I say tall? He was 6 feet tall in elementary school. Or at least that’s how I remember it.) So the tall guy comes up to me and says, “You need to ask my friend about his sister’s ballet lessons. He really loves his sister.”
And I cared about these guys. So I did. They were my friends.
“How are your sister’s ballet lesson’s going?” I asked about an hour later at recess.
“My sister doesn’t have any legs. I can’t believe you’d say that. I thought you were my friend.” And then he began to cry.
That was 1971. And I still remember the bile rising up in my throat.
It was months later that I learned he didn’t have a sister. Kids are mean. Just saying.