Sunday, May 02, 2004

A few minutes ago I was digging through my filing cabinet and pulled out a note dated 2-3-95. It's folded in that complicated way that all schoolgirl notes are folded, with a little tab to pull to open the whole thing up. Now, I keep everything, and so as a consequence my filing cabinet is a virtual treasure trove of embarrassment. I have tried, in my filing system, to separate my Adult Things (tax forms, credit card stuff, and such) with the detrius of my adolescence. But sometimes there is a crossover and bits that had been tucked inside other things make themselves known.
But back to the note.
In rounded, girly handwriting, it says:
Hey, I wanna call a truce. Please be friends with me. I'm not joking. I was the one who wrote the letter but it wasn't my idea. I won't name names though. The reason I was mad at you was because someone (I can't say who), said you where talking about me behind my back. I don't now if it's true but I wanna put it all in the past. I'm sorry I lead you on like that and I wont do it again. Maybe I'll C-ya around.
(heart) Alexis
PS sorry so sloppy and I'm not kidding."
Letter? Oh yeah...

I had a bottom locker that year, in the middle of the seventh grade hallway. One day, apparently in late January, I opened my locker and a folded piece of paper fell out. This wasn't unusual, since my friends often pushed notes through the vent slats in between classes. I opened it and found, to my astonishment, a (poorly spelled) note from a secret admirer asking me to meet him outside the school store after lunch. Angry, I crumpled the note into a ball and went to class.
After all, I had no illusions about myself. I was short and I had bad hair. I was nearing the end of my obsession with brightly colored leggings but hadn't quite moved on. I had big purple glasses that covered half of my face, and the other half was nearly always covered by a book. I was The Ugly Girl, a huge dork, and while I wasn't too thrilled with that I had accepted it as the natural order of things. Up until right before that letter I had had any number of friends, people who told me all of their secrets because they figured I didn't have anyone around to repeat them to. I wasn't particularly happy, but Ugly Girls aren't entitled to be happy, so I always left it at that. But then someone started spreading rumors about me and my friends all drifted away.
I also knew that in the seventh grade gossip that a boy liked you got to you sooner than the boy himself did. I was friends with all the boys and had heard no such thing on either sex's grapevine, so I dismissed the whole thing as a cruel joke someone was playing on me.
So I didn't go to meet my mysterious note sender, and as it turns out that I was right: Alexis, the vindictive harpy, had heard from someone who had heard from someone that I had called her a bitch. And so she set out to make life miserable; which, of course, she did. She stole all of my friends and tried to make me think that a boy liked me.
It's fortunate that I was smarter than her or the whole thing would probably have stung even more than it did. But then, being smart and friendless (a common condition, but not one that I wanted to join in on) is really not much of a trade off when you're 12.
And it may not be very grown up of me, but I still hope she has 15 kids now and lives in a trailer in Homestead.

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