ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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I fell in love with my son the day he looked me in eye and smiled. He was 3 months old. I was so relieved that he was not going to be like my kid brother. I thought I was home free.

My kid brother was always odd, even when he was a baby. I remember the daughter of a family friend who used to babysit us both (we are 18 months apart in age) commenting about him.

"He was the strangest child. He would look at you, but he never smiled. You were okay, Nina. You were a sweet baby. But he was always...different. I can't explain it, but he was."

No Easy Answers )
ninanevermore: (Default)
continued from Wednesday and Thursday.
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Maybe I ran with the wrong circle, because I missed some of the rumors about Felicia’s death. Kelley mentioned one the other weekend that I’d never heard before.

“I heard she killed herself because they wouldn’t let her on the drill team because she was black,” Kelley said. Kelley is a warehouse of rumors. I can’t remember if she was like this back in high school or not, but she certainly has the skinny on what people are saying about everything now.

Possible explanations for the unexplainable )
ninanevermore: (Default)
continued from yesterday.
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The principal didn’t need to tell us all how Felicia died in the morning announcements: the kids in her neighborhood all new the evening she was found, and the rest of us gleaned the details from the news reports and the things the adults talked about when they thought we were all out of earshot.

Rumor may have the whole story, but never gives it away. )
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We were sitting at the picnic table in Sandy’s yard pouring over the high-school yearbooks she had brought out, looking for ourselves and one another and commenting about which of us looked the same and who looked completely different.

“There’s Felicia Handy,” Sandy said softly as she pointed to a picture, and the group of us fell silent. She must have been looking at the yearbook from our freshmen year because that was the only yearbook that had Felicia’s picture in it. She shot herself just before our sophomore yearbooks went to press and the powers that be pulled her picture so that when the yearbook came out a few weeks later there was no sign she had ever attended school there. I thought this unfair; if she’d moved away in the middle of the spring semester, they would have left her photo alone. But the nature of Felicia’s demise had the adults panicking that it might give the rest of us ideas about taking the easy way out, and so they thought it best to remove her picture and hope we’d all forget about her.

It didn’t work. I could tell from the way everyone froze and the sharp intakes of breath around that picnic table 25 years later that every last one of was still haunted our memories of her.

15 there's still time for you / Time to buy and time to choose / Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this / When you only got 100 years to live… )
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Sandy went in the house and came back out carrying 4 year books and a rolled up tube of paper that turned out to be a wide-angle photo of our entire senior class (at least those who didn't skip school that day). She put them down on the picnic table in her front yard and we all gathered around them to look for people we knew, as well as ourselves and each other.

Kelly, the chain-smoking hospital nurse, seems to be the expert on what happened to people, especially if it was bad.

"He's dead," she said, pointing to someone in the group photo, "and she died in a car accident. He died a year after we graduated. Walked into his appartment and dropped dead of heart attack."

"At 19?"

"Yeah. Doesn't that suck?"

They don't call them Vice principals for nothing )
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Sandy doesn't look like Sandy to me anymore, unless I look closely at her face. Her best feature was always her long dark brown hair, which is now a rather odd shade of blonde. One of her daughters is a cosmetology student and she uses Sandy for practice. Her hair's current artificial yellow color was the result of a brick-red dye job that Sandy didn't like, so her daughter tried to go with a blond to fix it. The red and the blond hair dye colors, when mixed together, made a unique, not-commercially-available-for-understandable-reasons shade of yellow reminiscent of a Crayola crayon. When Sandy takes off her cowboy hat you can see about an inch of her natural salt-and-pepper colored hair growing out of her scalp.

Sandy doesn't mind the yellow color so much. She says when her daughter gets a chance, there's no telling what color her hair will be next.

Hair and There )
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Someone going by the moniker of "Grimlord" send me a friend request on MySpace this week. I have a profile on MySpace, but the only time I visit it anymore is when someone contacts me through it. I looked at the profile to see a death-metal musician with the usual death-metal musician graphics: gore, Satanic symbols, and the like. Death metal is not my thing and never has been. I don't even actually consider it to be music: it's just loud noises on electric guitars with shouting to accompany it. But I knew at once that Grimlord was not just a random underground musician trying to pad his friend list, for the request came with a message: "Hi! It's me, David!"

My first love from high school had found me. I accepted the friendship request.

We learned about love in the back of a Dodge; the lesson hadn't gone too far… )
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I met my husband at a local Mexican restaurant last week after I got off work. It's a nice place in a secluded location, which means we can dine there in un-crowded comfort until the day they run out of money and realize they really should have opened a restaurant closes to the center of town, where all the other restaurants are. I spotted my husband and son sitting on the outdoor patio. As I walked toward them, I heard a man greet me by name.

I turned toward the other couple dining on the patio. I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because the man said, "You don't recognize me, do you?"

I shook my head and told him no, I didn't.

Mercy, what a mess. )
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Part of my little boy's therapy right now if for me to tell him at the end of each day which of his actions made me proud, and which disappointed me.

When you are a child, you hate to disappoint your parents. Even as a teenager, I found being grounded a far softer punishment than having my father look at me sadly and say, "I am very disappointed in you." I could gripe and feel indignant about being grounded. His disappointment cut to the bone though, and made me feel as tiny as one of the thimbles or little bobbins of thread in my mother's sewing supplies. Please, anything but disappointment.

One memory of my mother's disappointment still haunts me.

Sometimes you know better, but still need a reminder. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the fact that 20 years ago when I was in high school, I was Emo before Emo was even cool. Heck, I was Emo before Emo had even been invented yet. I, at 16, helped pave the path to pathetic that so many kids now wearing their hair in their faces and writing bad poetry about suicide now claim as their own. To these kids, who feel that no one understands them, I want to tell you that I do understand you because I used to be you. This is why, when I come across one of you now, I laugh and make fun of you.

Look, Emo kids, I have some bad news and you might as well hear it from one who has been there: one of these days you are going to grow up and get over it, just like everyone is telling you to do. There's nothing you can do to stop it, unless you really do kill yourself (and you know that, despite all the talk that gets you so much attention, your heart really isn't in it, is it?).

But take comfort: there are worse things than growing up and becoming a productive member of society. For example, you could stay the way you are now. Forever. Considering how annoying you are at this point in your life, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen.

Dear Diary, No one understands how hard it is to be me. I wish I could just die, hopefully before that biology test on Friday because I just can't bring myself to study that stuff because it's boring and who cares anyway? )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the live nativity scene my church youth group used to stage when I was a teenager, and how when we weren't standing still trying to look holy and pious, we were talking trash. This isn't news to anyone who remembers being a teenager, and one of the people who stopped to admire our little living still life in front of our church remember it very well, but underestimated how depraved we really all were.

ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about Robert R., one of my old high school classmates that I ran into at the reunion last week. Back then, we knew him as "Bobby the Wop," not because we were so ignorant and hateful that we would call an Italian kid a wop, but because during our junior year when he ran for class president, his campaign posters all read: "Vote for Bobby the Wop!"

We had so few kids of Italian ancestry in our school that none of us knew what the word meant, so we went to the most reliable source of word definitions that we knew of: our English and Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Sheridan. The incident stands out in my mind because she looked so uncomfortable, but seemed to feel that her obligation as a teacher meant she could not duck the question. She hesitated, opened her mouth, and then hesitated again. She looked at Bobby, who sat smiling at her in the middle of the classroom. She looked at the rest of us, who all sat bent forward with our heads cocked, ready to learn and expand our vocabularies.

Politically incorrect virgins )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about my 20th high school class reunion that I went to last Friday. I was pleasantly surprised, and can say that I had fun. I almost didn't, because I almost didn't go. Even as I was driving out to drop my son off at my father's house, I debating turning around and going back home. Perhaps it was because my motivation for going was less than noble. I wasn't looking forward to seeing old friends and catching up. I wasn't planning to reminisce about days of past glory. I was going for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to see who got fat and ugly. For this reason and no other, I shaved my legs and arranged for my son's grandparents to watch him.

A wallflower corsage )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Since I wrote about Kellie last week - her life, death, and funeral – I have been carrying around a burden that I have to unload. A lot of people expressed sorrow over my loss, and it seemed ungracious not to thank them for their sympathy. To set the record straight, Kellie was the wife of an old friend. I admired her a lot, and I feel a lot of sympathy for her husband and children. I have a confession to make, though – I didn't like her very much. Admiration and affection are not the same.

Time goes by and friendships fade, but a grudge can last beyond the grave. )
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Today on my drive into work, I was listening to "Don't Stand So Close To Me," by The Police, and it brought to mind a memory from high school.

When I was 15, my high school Driver's Ed teacher was a man in his 30's that I will call Mr. Harris. We all liked him. He was very laid back and low key, with a sense of humor so dry that you practically felt thirsty every time he told a joke. I remember him as tall and lean, with a receding hairline and a big bushy mustache. In retrospect, he was not an unattractive man, though at 15 I only saw him as old.

Ricki was a girl in my class, a pretty blond-haired spitfire who hung with the popular crowd. She was tiny, no taller than 5 feet, with a fresh-faced cuteness that belied her sharp tongue and brash personality.

On the day I recalled, Ricki was wearing a particular sweatshirt with a top portion that looked like the waist of a pair of blue jeans, with the fly in the front and the back pockets on the back of her shoulders. She was sitting on the front row of the classroom.

Mr. Harris was passing out papers when he got to Ricki's desk.

"That's an interesting shirt you're wearing," he commented.

"Do you like it?" Ricki asked, tugging on the zipper under her throat to reveal a hint of under-aged cleavage. She grinned a wide-eyed, innocent grin and cocked her head to the side. "Wanna stick your hand down my pants, Mr. Harris?"

The class laughed. Hr. Harris gave a slight smile, rolled his eyes and shook his head at the audacity of the question. He didn't say anything.

Most notably, he didn't tell her no.

I can respect that; he wasn't the sort who believed in lying to children.

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