Thursday, December 11, 2014

A defining moment in time

This post was chosen "Best of Holidailies!"  Thank you!

I began my fourth grade year at a new school.  It was a catholic school because the public school I was slated to attend wasn't very desirable, and private school was the only other option.  I had to wear this awful blue-checkered jumper with a white blouse under it.  I hated it.  It was hot and uncomfortable.  Thankfully my Mom was an excellent seamstress and she was able to purchase the fabric to make my uniforms and make them fit comfortably.  I was heading to being a little on the plus size back then.  I was the new kid at school and I hated it, but at the same time I was a little excited to be on a new adventure.  It didn't take me long to learn everyone's name as the classes were small.  Still, I was the outsider because many of the students had been together since kindergarten.

There were these two foreign girls I became friendly with.  Miluska was from Peru and Melissa was from Cuba.  They were both dark skinned and had long dark hair and had been paired up as best friends for as long as they had known each other.  I guess in a way, they clung together because they felt like outsiders too in an almost all white very American school.

In fifth grade, the three of us started to pal around.  I sat with them at lunch.  We hung out together at recess.  Miluska would call me from time to time and I went to her house, and we even went to the movies.  At the end of fifth grade I was happy that I had finally made some friends at this school.

When sixth grade began at the end of August, I went right back to being their friend.  I sat with Melissa and Miluska at lunch.  We sat on the curb at recess.  I remember standing on the cement school yard talking to them before the bell rang.  It was my birthday that week.  I wanted them to both come to my party.  It wasn't a big party, but I invited them.  I secretly told them I had hoped my Mom was going to get me a Barbie Dream Pool because I wanted it more than anything in the world.  Melissa looked at me as if I had three heads and said that she gave away all of her toys years ago.  They both said maybe they would come, and Melissa said to call her that afternoon.

I've never been much of a phone person, but that afternoon I dialed her number and a man with a hard Cuban accent answered the phone.  "Hold on," he said after I asked for Melissa.  After a long while, he came back and asked who was calling.  "Hold on," again I did.  After another long while, he came back and said "Uh, she isn't here.  She went down the street."  I knew in my heart it wasn't true, but I didn't want to believe it.  Of course, neither of my school friends came to my birthday.

I don't know how many days later it was, but one day soon after at lunch Miluska and Melissa were whispering to each other.  They got up from the lunch table together and left me behind.  They would see me outside at recess they said.  I finished lunch, went to the restroom, and sat next to them outside on the curb as I had done since fifth grade.  They were still whispering.  Miluska kept saying no, she didn't want to.  Finally, Melissa said, "YES, You agreed!!"

Melissa turned sharply and gave me this speech about how two was company and three was a crowd.  Miluska sat there in silence.  Melissa pointed out some groups of three friends and said why didn't I go hang around with them to make it an even four?  I just sat there with my head down, my eyes burning with tears.  My friends... weren't really my friends after all.  I held it all in until I got home.  I got off the bus and the second I stepped in my front door, I burst into tears.  I told my Mom that they said they didn't want to be my friend anymore, and I just cried and cried.

After that, I sat by myself under a tree at recess.  Sometimes I'd bring a library book and read.  I remember being in line at the water fountain and this girl Rene turned and asked me, "Did you, Miluska, and Melissa get in a fight?"  I told her no, they just said they didn't want to hang around with me anymore.  "Did you cry?," she asked.  I just shrugged my shoulders and didn't say anything because I didn't want anyone to know my heart was completely broken by these two girls.

Years later, Miluska began calling me.  We were at different junior high schools.  She'd talk like nothing was wrong and was completely boy crazy!!  Out of the blue during one of our lengthy conversations, Miluska timidly asked me if I remembered "That Day."   Yes... yes I did.

Now it's thirty-one years later, and I still remember.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:05 AM

    I had a similar experience in eighth grade. You never forget it. I'm sorry that you had to go through it.