Time: Freshman year of high school
Cast of Characters: Me, Loud Mouth, Nancy, and Susan
I was sitting eating lunch, chatting with my friends. I'm pretty sure I was talking. That's what I did/do after all. Loud Mouth comes bursting through the cafeteria doors. Loud Mouth was a seventh grader I think. Either way, she's younger than me. And she's trouble.
"Andrea, how old is Nancy?"
I looked at her flabbergasted, wondering why the heck I should know or care. However, of course I had an answer. I have an answer for everything!
At least I think I do. And even if I don't have the absolutely RIGHT answer, I have a pretty good idea of the answer! So, of course I gave her the answer that I ASSUMED to be right. (You know what they say about assuming, right?)
"I think she's 18. She lives with her boyfriend, so..."
"I told her she couldn't touch me because it would be assaulting a minor!" And with that proclamation, she spun and left the cafeteria.
I wish I could say that my gut feeling was that this could not be a good thing. However, I forgot the conversation nearly as soon as it happened. After all, I was given to rattling off at the mouth before my brain could stop and process, and frequently I did not register the repercussions of such rattling until, well quite frankly, they were staring me in the face.
I had typing immediately following lunch. After the first bell announcing the end of lunch, I ran to the bathroom. While I was still in the stall, I heard two girls entering, obviously upset.
"I'm going to kick her BLEEP!!!
Wow! Somebody's in trouble. Wonder what that's about. And being not at all nosy, I prolonged my bathroom time to catch the scoop.
"Who the bleep does she think she is? I am not 18, and if she keeps telling everyone that and butting into my business I'm going to beat the bleep out of her! That bleeping little bleep."
Uh-oh. Is that Nancy? I hear another voice join hers.
"I know. I'm totally with you. Bleeping know it all."
Oh, crud. It's Nancy AND Susan. I was already more than a little afraid of the two of them. I knew they were wild. They were so far outside of my little realm that we might as well have been on different planets. Just a few weeks before they had been showing off the bruises on their upper arms from where their mom had taken them to get Depo Provera implants so they wouldn't be teen moms. They wore thick coal black eye liner, too heavy foundation, skin tight jeans (but it was the 90s, everyone wore tight jeans) and black leather bomber jackets. They drank. They smoked...They were the very embodiment of my version of "bad girl."
(Oh, and guess what memory just popped into my brain? I think their mom was a nurse! But that little nugget is completely irrelevant to this post, unless one relates it to the fact that everyone I know who had a mom for a nurse talks about the complete lack of sympathy their mom had, and perhaps that led them to a life of brutally beating up underclassmen?)
I quietly lifted my feet up off of the floor. And I began to try and think of an escape route...But that was impossible as it was a one way in, one way out bathroom. I could hear hair spray being lacquered on, and they continued their conversation of the dire consequences I was going to face as soon as they got me alone. I swear, if I hadn't been already sitting on the toilet I would totally have peed my pants.
After what felt like an eternity, and with escalating threats being tossed about considering my person and Loud Mouth, I decided to face the dragons...
I walked out of the stall and walked to the sink as if I had no idea what they were talking about. They both stopped what they were doing and watched me. My hands were shaking as I rolled out the paper towels..."By the way, I had no idea why Loud Mouth was asking how old you were. She just asked and I guessed 18 because you live with your boyfriend. Sorry."
"Yeah, well I'm 17, so you better just learn to mind your own business or I will seriously kick your bleep!"
"Yeah. Sure. Yeah. Okay. Well. Okay. Sorry again. Um...See you around!" And for some dumb reason I think I smiled cheerfully and offered a little wave. Maybe not. But I'm pretty sure I did. And I tried to calmly walk (not run like I wanted to) out of the bathroom.
Guess what? I saw her no less than one minute later. You see, she had typing with me. That was the real reason I had braved her in the bathroom. Seeing her was going to be unavoidable! She walked right past my desk and pounded it with her hand on the way to her typewriter. I tried to look cool and calm, but I'm pretty sure I jumped and flinched away.
That girl got pleasure out of shooting murderous glances at me every day throughout typing for the rest of the year. I had visions of her and Susan dragging me by my hair to the parking lot from then on. To this day I still think of her as one of the scariest people I've ever met, and she never even laid a hand on me, and I really don't know of her ever getting in an actual fight.
The power of suggestion was enough for me.