Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mean Girls: The Reunion



I was a Square Peg in high school, an introverted and painfully shy wallflower who hid behind a gregarious and fun-loving best friend. (I still am today, except now I hide behind my husband…and the computer.) Being a poor kid and always trying to hide the fact that I was a poor kid meant that I carried around a suitcase full of self-esteem issues. Furthermore, my looks were marginal at best, and, no matter if you like it or not, being pretty sometimes matters in high school. I had to work hard to be attractive, and I never felt like I truly fit in with the circle of kids who went to cotillion and had parents with summer homes on the coast. I always felt awkward and goofy, and the words coming out of my mouth always, always, always sounded wrong. I never felt good enough. Even in my forties, I’m a hermit who avoids being social at all costs. It’s a defense mechanism that’s working for me so far.

When I was sophomore, a new boy in town walked into my life. It was my “Sixteen Candles” moment. I was the geeky girl with an enormous crush on this impossibly handsome football player who didn’t even know I existed. I admired his chiseled bone structure and delighted in the shape of his very athletic butt. I scribbled his name over and over on my notebook. I planned our wedding and named our children. I made every effort to be in his universe even though I knew I was invisible to him. I watched him from afar with his beautiful, sun-bleached-blonde girlfriend. (Praying she would be run over by a dump truck.)

Ah, yes…his girlfriend. She was not only pretty, but she came from one of the nicer neighborhoods in town (only child = Princess). She wore the best clothes. She had a flawless face that never saw a day with a zit and looked gorgeous without make-up. Her hair was thick, shiny and always perfect, a direct contrast to the mousy brown Aqua Net hair helmet I was sporting back then. She spoke with a confidence and self-assuredness that I don’t even have today. In other words, I really hated that bubbly little bitch.

Kent and Barbie dated for a while, but their union came to an end when Barbie started cheating on him with another good-looking stud. (How slutty awesome that she had the pick of the litter!) Although I was thrilled that that they were no longer together, I didn’t hold out much hope that I was next in line. There was an entire cheerleading squad with first dibs on him. Besides, what could he possibly see in me, a band geek with stringy hair and fingernails bitten down the nub?

I still remember so clearly the night Kent called. Our only telephone hung on the wall in the kitchen, and in the days before caller ID, it was always my assumption that every call was for me. I dashed to the phone and breathlessly answered. A soft-spoken voice replied back to me, “Lynda? This is Kent Brockman….Hi.” I grabbed a chair to keep from collapsing. (Twenty-eight years later, I am blushing at the memory.) I stood there, twirling the cord around my finger and trying not to stutter. So many things went through my head. “How did he get my number?” “Was someone pulling a prank on me?” “Did I die and go to heaven?” I managed to squeak out a conversation, and that phone call lead to a date, which lead to several until we were going steady.

I was so proud to be Kent’s girl. I watched him practice with the football team (on the nights when it didn’t interfere with marching band). I still scribbled his name on my notebooks, but this time I could believe that “Mr. and Mrs. Kent Brockman” might actually come true.  We talked for hours every night, but a couple of months in, he started to be "too busy" and would "forget to call".  After going two days without hearing from him, I decided to do the unthinkable - call him.  You see, I kind of had a sneaking suspicion that Kent had taken Barbie back.  I didn't have concrete proof, but her sideways glances and whispers each time she passed me in the halls were cause enough to investigate.

I called Kent, but his line was busy over and over and over again.  Then, I had an epiphany...call her. I looked up Barbie's phone number and dialed it.  I sank down onto the floor as the busy signal from the receiver resonated like a trumpet in my ear.  I was convinced they were talking, and I was right.  Kent called and broke it off with me later that night.  He admitted that he was back with Barbie and apologized for crushing my tiny fragile heart into a trillion splintered pieces.

When the Perfect Couple was together once more, Barbie proceeded with a Hate Campaign against me.  She flaunted her relationship with Kent, and, as if the Universe felt the need to punish me as well, we shared a class together and were forced to sit side by side.  She used this opportunity to publicly announce her love for Kent and generally make my life a living hell.  I was an easy target - the Dorky Girl.

We went our separate ways after high school, and although we live in the same town, I have managed to avoid her for twenty-five years...until now.  I was invited to a friend's house for drinks, something I rarely do, but this friend knows me, knows I'm shy, and she goes out of her way to watch my back. It was a mixed group, with half being folks I didn't know.  As I was sipping my wine and making polite conversation, the hostess said, "Oh, good!  Barbie's here!"

What. The. Hell...

I immediately started looking for the back door.  You mean to tell me that I have successfully lived Barbie-free all this time, and now we're face to face...at my FRIEND'S house?  

I didn't look up when she walked in the door.  She greeted her adoring fans, and I never even gave her a glance.  I could feel her eyes on me, recognizing me immediately, I'm sure.  As we gathered around the bar, she was literally two seats over.  We sat there for more than an hour never acknowledging each other, never once making eye contact.  What do you say to someone who made your life miserable and caused you to feel like your teenage heart had been cut out of your chest with a dull knife?  I could feel my Inner Redneck rising up into my throat, but I washed her back down with a big swig of Merlot.  Out of respect for my friend, I didn't say what I really wanted to say. (And out of respect for my no-F-bomb-blogging, I won't repeat it here either, but I'm sure you can imagine.)

She left the party first, and that was it, completely anti-climactic.  Neither of us had the balls to confront the past, and neither of us was woman enough to make a friendly gesture.  I let my friend in on the back story after Barbie was gone.  We laughed about it and drank a little more.  Even though I never got to tell her what I had wanted to say all those years ago, I'll let you in on the best part...her ass is about six or eight sizes bigger than mine.  THAT, my friends, is the sweetest revenge of all....

5 comments:

  1. That's awesome...sometimes it takes years for karma to come around, but we just have to be patient!

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  2. Well written and I think we could all feel for you and relate! High school boyfriend angst...ugh! I've got a middle school daughter just getting to notice boys and I'm so not looking forward to the emotional roller coaster!

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  3. Want me to come and kick her ass for you?

    I was always a tomboy, and I was "buddies" with all of the guys. How asexually depressing is that?

    Whoever said those were the best days of our lives was seriously smoking crack.

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  4. I swear I could be you/you could be me... whatever. I relate completely.

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