That Kid

I am that kid.

First day of school, teacher proudly organized, in charge, forgets she is addressing humans not machines programmed to comply.  I cannot tolerate oppression: authority already overbearing in my life.  I am a pressure cooker, combustible, ready to explode, like an uncorked grenade counting down the seconds.

“We need to set some guidelines, Class,” she’ll say in her nasal attempt-at-composure voice, and the do-gooders will sit up straighter and smile encouragement, and I will not be among them.  I won’t want to be there.

Then we’ll trundle off to the library – “Stay together, voices down” – and sign onto useless, old computers, and pledge to respect that which is unrespectable, and the bomb will go off.  I am certain of it.

She’ll put us in little groups, assign the nerds with slow kids, and losers with high achievers (just to emphasize that we need extra control).  Setting good examples, they call it.  I call it bullshit. Some powder puff beauty and a scholarly jock wannabe, no doubt – plastics who are so far from what I could ever aspire to be.  What are teachers thinking?

Want results?  Just give me a corner, and leave me to my own devices.   Give me the assignment and let go.  I’m no dummy – don’t need anchors to hold me down.  All I’ll do is fight harder.

By now I’ll be ticking, just as Teach asks us to sign our names on a piece of paper (of course, I won’t have a writing instrument – that would look too eager), I’ll stroll over to the librarian’s desk and help myself to one of his stash, most likely upsetting the whole bunch, spilling markers and pencils everywhere.  The neophytes will giggle, and the hounds bray like donkeys, and the teacher, her neck turning a particular shade of mottled pink will descend on me nostrils flaring.

“Is this how’s it’s going to go this semester, Miss….”

“Ms.” I’ll correct her, maintaining an air of nonchalance.  “It’s Ms.; I prefer not to be labelled according to my marital status.”

She’ll be taken aback momentarily, and then order me to pick up the mess and apologize to the librarian.

“Yeah; SORRY ABOUT THAT!” I’ll call across the room to where a man will be hiding behind the book stacks.

“Not like that!” She’ll fume.

“God, can’t I do anything right?”  I’ll have the whole room now, eyes glued to my riveting performance.

“March right to the office, young lady!” she’ll spew, her rage now ice-cold.  “I’ll be along shortly.”


“And what?

“Then what will you do?”

Her wheels will be smoking by then, her mind reaching for something, anything to defuse the situation – to tame me.

“Call your parents!”

The dreaded call-the-parents.

Good luck,” I’ll say dismissively waving as I make my exit.  “Let me know if you find them.”

See what I mean:  I’m that kid.


Mother Never Warned Me

He’d always come early, my sister’s beau, hover over me with what I mistook for childlike interest, invite me to go for a ride in his shiny new sports car – a two-seater with overdrive.  I was barely fifteen.

Looked like Bert Reynolds: dark hair, dark eyes, a stylish moustache.  He was Russian and broad-shouldered, and took my breath away each time I dared to look at him – such a classic beauty.  I was flattered that he noticed me at all – the ugly duckling to my sister’s ravishing looks.

thWe’d drive down country lanes – he knew all the back roads – and he’d take the turns and dips at heart-racing speeds, and I’d never dare let him know how much it frightened me.

Then suddenly, he’d stop.  Pull over on the side of the road and declare the car’s birthday, or some other made up anniversary, and demand a kiss.  It was foolish – outlandish, even – but he’d declare it with such panache that I couldn’t refuse.  What’s an innocent peck between friends, after all?  It was our little secret.

He’d deliver me home just in time for my sister to emerge looking like a model, and I’d slink into the background, head spinning, wondering what it was all about.

Then he set me up with a friend of his – nineteen, drove a motorcycle, smart.  He’d host parties at his house, invite the two of us, follow me to the basement laundry room where the booze was stored, and close the door behind us, wrapping me in his arms, pressing his body up against mine and kissing me with fiery passion.

Not sure if I responded, but I certainly didn’t resist.  Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to think.  Few words passed between us – I was only a stupid kid – and I remember wondering if I should be liking this.  Could this be what the romance novels I’d read were talking about?

I never told anyone.  He continued to see my sister, for a while, and I went back to his friend, till boredom broke us up.

Then he found me again.  Years later, when life and experience had taught me a bit more, and I was engaged to be married.  He begged me not to go through with it, said he loved me, couldn’t stop thinking about me, wanted me to run away with

Of course, I said no, pushed away his advances, told him to lose my number, suppressed the anger growing inside me.

I was a still a child, incapable of making sound judgments when he took me, lured me with fast cars, invited me into an adult world, made me believe I was something more than I thought myself to be.   Those dark, mysterious eyes, were that of a wolf’s, his smile a hungry grimace – there was nothing loving about his advances – just a predator grooming its prey.