Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Storm: Reunion Recollections

There we were, on the dinner cruise ship and Tobey and I were standing next to him. I had waited over 27 years for this moment....

To know the story we have to go back to the beginning. When I was growing up and I know this might be a shocker to you but I wasn't all that popular. Actually, I wasn't popular at all. In hindsight I know how cruel kids can be and me being different I found myself the butt of way too many jokes. I was way too tall and way too chunky and way too busty. I think I was equally as funny and intelligent back then but in school you aren't judged on what is on the inside as much as you are judged for the name brand shoes on your feet and your ability to be pretty and blend in. I couldn't do any of those things.

My father was in the military and at that time my mother didn't work. To say money was tight would be an understatement. Our clothes were purchased at K-mart and we didn't have all of the material things the other kids had. Like the Tiger sneakers or the Hash jeans. I even remember taking magic markers to my tennis shoes to give them the look of being a pair of Tigers, they didn't fool any one. Being a good foot taller than anyone else and outweighing them all, my clothing selections were slim to none and in that time there wasn't much of a selection for "Plus" size clothing other than stuff my Grandmother would have the good sense to leave on the rack.

Then in middle school it happened. Something so terrible in my mind that to this day I carry it with me. As if there wasn't enough things about me to make fun of, I needed glasses. My Mom and I went to the Pearl Vision Center that is still up on Miller Trunk Road. Because of my light sensitivity we choose transition lens that change into sunglasses when outside. Sure they are cool today, but back then - not so much.

So while in gym we were playing some ball game outside and HE decided to get with a few of the other boys and every time I passed them they proceeded to make fun of my glasses. I ignored them. I suppose one should just address things like this when they happen but I wouldn't give them the time of day which made things worse. When HE couldn't get a rise out of me for my glasses he then started making fun of my body, particularly the way my boobs 'looked like water balloons' when I ran. And HE shared that information with all the boys and by the end of class HE and his gaggle were having a good old time at my expense. Me? I was shattered.

Now what you need to know about HIM is that he had recently moved to Duluth and HE was hot. All the girls were head over heels in lust with him. Me? Not so much. Sure he was good looking but he certainly wasn't nice and for me nice goes a lot further than good lookin'.

After enduring days of his taunts in gym I finally broke. I left the field crying and our gym teacher, Mr. Ignacious, wanted to know what was wrong. And I told him. I told him everything. I don't know exactly what Mr. Ignacious did but I do know that he pulled HIM aside and took him into his office and when Mr. Ig was done the boy left his office red-faced and and it was obvious to all that saw him that he had been crying. HE never bothered me again.

All the girls wanted to know what I had done to HIM. What I had done? Me!

Fast forward the 25+ years and Tobey and I are at the reunion. Tobey knew the story and was looking out for HIM. Tobey was even asking people if he was there much to my chagrin. I didn't see him the first night but on the second night I was lucky to be standing right next to HIM. Lucky me.

Tobey had gone downstairs to refill our drinks and I was standing at the back of the boat and a group of people moved closer to where I was standing. I recognized every one of them. They had no idea who I was. So I stood there listening to their conversation and HE was with them. It was apparent HE was hitting on one girl in the group, that was until her boyfriend walked up and she introduced him to the group. I couldn't help but notice that HE had no wedding ring on his finger. I found that odd since the pictures from the 20th Reunion showed him with his very hot and very busty wife. I wondered if in her youth if she had her own run ins with someone like her husband. I sort of doubted it as I think her chest was the kind one purchases from a doctor's office.

After the boyfriend was introduced to the group it quickly dispersed and HE moved right next to me. I could tell by the way he smelled and by the way he acted and sounded he was drunk. Did I mention HE was also pretty portly? Well HE was. HE looked right at my name tag and didn't even bother with my face. My name didn't even register with him. Like everyone else, HE had no idea who I was. HE turned and yelled down at someone on the lower level and then proceeded to hawk a loogie over the back end of the boat. What a class act. How popular. How good-looking. Yeah. Right.

In the end I didn't have to say a word. Not that I would have any ways. Kids can be cruel and that is a part of growing up. I just wanted to see what he had grown up to be. While eavesdropping on his conversation I learned that he had a daughter, a daughter that HE didn't even know how old she was when the group asked. They asked if HE saw her often and HE said no, that in order to see her HE would also have to see her mother. HE didn't even know what college she was attending. I found the whole conversation rather pathetic and if it had been any one else on the planet I might have had some sympathy for them, but not for HIM. I am fairly certain Mr. Ignacious was smiling down from heaven at me that night.

That night I discovered a few things about myself. I figured out I am not that same girl from the school yard. I also realized I shouldn't have carried this garbage with me for decades because I was the only one that cared about it. I let HIS actions affect so many things in my life and him? HE was clueless about what HE had done to me.

Now I don't know what HE does for a living. HE may make a ton of money, I don't know or care. What I do know is that my life is a hell of a lot more successful than HIS. I have a good friend base that loves me and appreciates me for who I am. I have wonderful, successful, kind children. I have the most adoring and loving husband any woman would be proud to call her own. I have always felt the measure of a person can be seen in their family and friends. In that area I am successful, even if when I run my boobs still look like water balloons.



Newer Post Older Post Home