Posts tagged ‘high school’

Green

By: Rebecca Taylor

What emotion is the colour green describing? Post your answers in the comments section. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Ayana Marie Wallace was beautiful in a bright green dress across the room at the reunion dance. Her green eyes were intent on Grant Miller, and that was the problem. Chad Simms wanted them to be on him. He had been in love with Ayana for years but their lives had taken them in separate directions and while they had communicated through e-mail and the occasional phone call, it wasn’t the same as seeing someone. Ayana was talking to a bunch of other girls – women really from their class ten years ago but Chad could see where her eyes were focused, and it wasn’t on him. She met the women’s eyes occasionally but they always went back to Grant. Chad wondered why he couldn’t find the courage to go over and say hello to her, to ask her to dance or if she wanted something to drink or to get some fresh air. Was it fear of rejection? Or the fact that Ayana was still stunningly beautiful after all these years and he had gained a few pounds and his hair had receded a bit since high school. It had been so easy when they had talked on the phone, like the years had never gone by and she always sounded genuinely happy to be talking to him but now he was finding her beauty daunting and Grant – well he had been a jock in high school and he looked like he had stepped out of the center fold of a magazine. Who could compete with that? Personally, Chad had found Grant to be arrogant in high school but people could change in ten years and who was Chad to judge he knew that he had his share of fault lines.
“Lots of beautiful women in our class weren’t there,” said Josh Bryant coming over to stand with Chad.
“Yes, there are,” said Chad, “did you bring a date?”
“My wife and high school sweetheart Jacqueline Myers.”
“Nice,” answered Chad, “I’m glad this love thing is working out for some of us.”
“Haven’t got it yet?” asked Josh.
“No, the right one just hasn’t gotten to me yet.”
“Maybe now’s your chance,” said Josh, “there’s lots to choose from here, Jade Tompkins said only about half our class brought a date with them or are married but ended up coming alone. Your eyes are on Ayana aren’t they?”
“How did you know?”
“Doesn’t take an expert to see it; besides, you two always were friends in school.”
“Friends, yes, but we haven’t seen each other for that long even though we’ve talked. Things happen, our careers took us in different directions and now here we are. I’m trying to get up the courage to go say hello.”
“Just go over and say it, I have to lots of our classmates. Most of them didn’t bite then and they aren’t today either.”
Chad laughed, “Thanks for the tip, but it’s easier for you, no pressure, Mr. Married Man.”
“Not just that,” said Josh smiling, “I’m a dad too, I’ve got two sons. Life is good with me. You don’t know what you’re missing.”
“Hard to say,” answered Chad, “Everyone always seems to think the grass is greener on the other side. Anyways, here I go,” and he walked across the gymnasium stopping to speak to a few other former classmates along the way.
“Hello,” he said approaching the group of women and a few other men who had joined them, their dates perhaps as Chad didn’t know some of them”
“Hello, Chad,” said Ayana turning to face him, now her eyes were on him as she smiled and they started to talk about this and that.
Maybe I do have a chance with her after all, thought Chad taking her hand and leading her towards the dance floor.

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When I was in High School

It’s funny how high school drama sticks with a person. I graduated high school four years to the day, and yet I can still picture the look on his face when he told me he loved me, and then the look on his face a few weeks later when he said he didn’t. That was junior year.

I suppose we all made mistakes that year – Tina totaled her dad’s car, I slept through a shift of work, and Louise accidentally blabbed about her crush to the whole school. But he – Jeremy – made a the biggest mistake of all. I couldn’t handle all of his lies. “I love you,” he said. He was never an honest guy, but I was blind to a lot of things when I was a junior in high school.

All of these things floated around in the back of my mind everyday. In between my classes and studying and long night shifts, a painful memory or two would invade my day.

But today, I’ve decided, I won’t let it stick with me. I refuse to let this perfectly joyous day be ruined by an fiendish man. And so I strode right up to the grocery story, intent on having a peaceful time of errand running. I grabbed my toothpaste and other odds and ends with a bounce in my step. No painful memories for this girl. Once in line at the check-out, I heard something familiar. The customer in front of me chuckled at something the cashier said. I knew that chuckle.

The customer turned around. I knew that face.

He blinked in shock, and I blinked back. “Hi,” he said.

How could I respond to that in a way that’s not lame?

“How’ve you been, Mia?”

“Fine,” I said whimsically. I had nothing else to say, and I laid my items down on the conveyor belt, hoping that he would leave me be.

“You know, it’s been so long since we talked. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing you a letter.”

“That’s really interesting,” I said. “I’ve never thought of doing the same.” I inwardly cringed. What happened to being cool and collected?

“In that letter I would have apologized.”

Now I looked up.

He grinned, as if something was truly joyful, and I knew he was kidding about the apology part. “I’m sorry that you didn’t understand relationships back then,” he said. “Hope you’re a better person now.” He flashed  me a grin, took his plastic bag, and turned on his heel.

When I a junior in high school, I would have sulked like a dog with it’s tail between his legs, reeling from Jeremy’s tumultuous wake. But now I shrugged.

Like I said, it’s funny how high school drama sticks with you. It’s also funny how people change, or in some cases, how little they change.

Stay or Go?

She did not know whether to leave or to stay. Should she go or should she stay?

Catie was torn and the decision needed to be made by morning. Should she flip a coin? She was either heading out to California to live with an Aunt and Uncle she barely knew and nanny their kids. Otherwise she could stay in her hometown and work at a local Famous Dave’s.

She was laying face up on her bed, contemplating the ugly ceiling she had put up with her entire childhood. She would like to get away from this town but she also knew that there were so many things she would miss. She was heading off to college at the end of the summer and this was her last chance to enjoy these people. Part of her knew that she might not enjoy them. Ever since Christmas break senior year, she felt like part of her had never come back to high school. That part of her was beyond these people and this drama and everyone knowing everyone.

Catie went to her backpack and pulled out her Chemistry notebook. She ripped out a page, nearly tearing it in half. “This’ll do,” she muttered to herself as she grabbed a pen that had chew marks on one end. Her thinking pen.

Before she could start her pro/con list, her phone rang. It was her friend Amy who didn’t mince with the hello process, “So I hear you’re leaving for the summer? Where are you going? Why would you leave? This is like the last chance we have to say goodbye!”

Catie sighed. She had told one person and the information traveled so fast. Catie started to reply. She meant to tell Amy that she was still thinking about it and didn’t know what she was going to do yet. She meant to say that she wanted advice. Amy kept talking and asking questions while Catie turned her iPhone on speaker and Googled flights to California. There was one the day after graduation.

“I know, it all came up so fast!” Catie said, interrupting Amy’s monologue. “But I have to leave the day after graduation. It’s the right flight and my Aunt and Uncle need me.”

“Oh no Catie! Why would you do that? I’m going to miss you soo much.” Amy trailed off. “Well we should have a party! Celebrate our high school time! We could have it this weekend since next weekend is graduation!”

Getting up and walking to the window, Catie said, “Sounds good. One big goodbye!”

The rest of the conversation, Catie completely zoned out as Amy talked about graduation and what she was wearing.

Catie was leaving. She didn’t need these people anymore. She was ready to be someone else and do something different.

She didn’t want to stay so that meant she would go.

Busy busy busy

She told me she needed to do something. She said she was busy. She had “things to do.”

I never followed her. I didn’t need to. She (being my friend Rachel) went, she was busy and came back in a better mood. I didn’t really know her, either. I may have thought I knew her but, looking back, she was about as constant as the wind.

It all happened so fast. Everything changed.

I was avoiding class one day in high school, walking aimlessly down the halls, when I saw her chug a Mug root beer by her locker. It didn’t occur to me until we were talking after school on why that had been odd. She hated root beer. She was constantly telling us how she hated root beer. She also said she hated it when people bothered her when she was busy and that she was afraid of water.

How much of what she told us was true?

I was curious. The root beer incident was the day I wondered. So I followed her after school. Along the walk I silenced my mind and didn’t let myself think about what I was doing or why she went.

We came to the river that ran about a mile away from our little town. Rachel stopped in front of the river and smiled. I saw her take a deep breath and as she let it out the tension disappeared from her body.

So she did relax. Good to know.

And then she went a little ways back into the woods and started pulling a canoe closer to the river. It had been hidden in the underbrush and she pushed it out into the water and started to paddle away. I almost ran after her and asked if I could go with but I was too afraid to put myself out like that.

I never said anything to her about it but I let myself become a closer friend of hers. I let her in like I usually didn’t because I thought she was lonely. Independent with her canoeing, (and who knew what else) but lonely all the same.

One day, years later at a high school reunion, I asked her if she had really feared water and hated root beer like she always told us in high school.

She laughed, “Of course not. I just wanted to see who would figure it out.”

Rachel was lonely. She pretended she was busy but deep down she was simply lonely. I guess we all are, in some ways.

Special Bonds

Calling them special might be a bit of a stretch. Not many would really believe you because they were just normal high school students with their knockoff coach purses and top siders. The looked average, they really did.

But to call them normal would not quite fit either. They could certainly act normal in the Hollister shirts and bored faces in the classroom. It wasn’t that they didn’t fit in but when it came right down to it, they did not fit in.

It all started with the English class. Whereas math classes were jokes and games, English classes continually got more in depth with feelings and views. It barely took a week for everyone to connect and for the class to drop the little friendship clicks and become one click themselves. They did not realize they were a click. The nonverbal body language when they passed in the hallways and the funny jokes they passed as they separated to go to separate classes were all things they did not know they did. Everyone else noticed, of course. Their bond really was strong.

You may have experienced a similar sort of special bond (not the same of course) if you have ever done any of the following:

  1. Seen a movie in theatres and walking out feeling dumbfounded. You may even have discussed the movie later over drinks with one of the people you went with.
  2. Listened to a really great sermon and learned something that you could apply in your life along with other people.
  3. Been stuck on a school bus that stalled and had to make friends with people you’d known of for a long time but never really known.
  4. Looked someone in the eye and saw something there that just couldn’t be described but also couldn’t be broken.
  5. Walked out of a near death situation with a group, feeling like you were on the cover of a magazine for your brilliance.

Can you relate? Perhaps.

However, what made this particular group peculiar was probably not that they had a Facebook group for the class. Perchance it was because of the teacher, who really set the mood for the students.

It’s the same reason as many books make it to the New York Times Bestseller’s List; it’s an abstract idea, an intangible concept.

After hearing all of this, you probably don’t immediately think of the love and power dichotomy. Let me explain.

The class had a sort of love for one another. Possibly twisted or strangely started but a love nonetheless.

The power went unfound for a while. Young high school students don’t necessarily see the power of a class although they usually acknowledge the power of a click. Funny, really.

Right before graduation was when I discovered the power. I had just finished reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (by E. Lockhart) and was on a feminist, power hungry trip without really knowing it.

If your anything like me, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. What does it all mean?

It means that I started a secret society. Along with occasionally reading a book as a class and often posting on our Facebook group, we do secret society type things.

I’m writing this down in a journal so that my children will know if for some reason the power of the group leads me to a near-death incident while we are working together. I love them very much and am close with many of them even to this day.

I am also writing this down so that if anyone else happens to go through my belongings and read my old notebooks full of random scribbles, they might consider the dichotomy of love and power.

That they might try and find their own special class.

The Dock at Otter Lake

Inspired by Trixie’s writing prompt

“A baby photo?” I clutched the phone under my chin while I folded laundry. “You really need my baby photo?”

“Didn’t I already ask you about this weeks ago?”

“I thought you were kidding.”

Em, my best friend, chuckled over the phone. “The baby picture slideshow is tradition for the ten year high school reunion, Allie. It’s going to be so great. I know you’ve always regretted this reunion idea, but with me planning it this year it’ll be so much better,” Em bubbled on. “Plus, it’ll be different than the real deal of school. Most of those dimwits that we went to school with matured a bit anyways.”

I cracked a smile. “I hope so.”

“Now scan me that picture within the hour.”

After I hung up the phone, I set the laundry basket on the floor and sighed. One baby picture for the reunion couldn’t hurt.  I headed for the fold-up staircase that lead to the attic – where my photo albums were hidden. Each stair creaked it’s protest. At the top, I pulled the string and the light bulb flickered on. I blinked away the dust.

I sat cross legged on the dirty attic floorboards. I pulled out a few non-sequitur albums out of a cardboard box, and found the one labeled “Allie’s Baby Years.” I grinned as I saw pictures featuring me being spoon feed apple sauce or simply making a cute and pudgy baby smile. I pulled out one that wasn’t too terribly embarrassing, and set it aside for Em. Then I saw the album called “The Awkward Years” at the bottom of the box, where it’d sat since I graduated. I hesitantly pulled it out and stared at it. Did I really want to open up this can of worms from my teenage years? The pictures might not be of anything but birthday parties and such, but the other memories sure were horrific. I’d considered just tossing all the pictures from high school, but that seemed a bit extreme. High school wasn’t all bad. Only the vast majority of it was.

I shook my head and began to lower it into the box. Before it reached its home, a picture slipped out and fluttered into my lap. Picking up the faded film picture, I recognized it to be a photo of a dock – the dock at Otter Lake. A slow smile grew on my face as I remembered how much time I spent there as a kid. That little dock helped me stay sane through those fateful years in high school.

Those tumultuous years were due in part to my father. He never tried to cause any harm; he was a wonderful man. In fact, was the best lawyer around. He lived for helping the victims and putting scoundrels behind bars, but those scoundrels that he put away often took it out on me. I went to school with some of them, so I suppose I was a target their own age. I grew up in farm country, but as far as crime went, it may have well been the inner city. We had the gang bangers, the armed robbers, the druggies, and the occasional murderer. Whenever a case went badly for one of my criminal classmates, it was usually due to my father’s work as the victim’s attorney. Though the perpetrators were serving time and couldn’t hurt my father or me, it was often the buddies of the jailbird that attacked me. Throughout high school, I was slammed into dozens of lockers and received seven death threats. Em was the first and only person who knew about it all. She became my body guard as well as my other half.

Besides the terror I experienced at school, I faced a different set of problems at home. My father was very adamant about me becoming a lawyer. Mother had died when I was a kid, and he was always a bit protective of the way I grew up. He saw how many adolescents around us turned out, and he wanted to make sure I would come out on his side and fight for the victims.

He may have had good intentions, but I had other ideas. The idea of spending my days in stuffy offices and even stuffier court rooms made me sick. I wanted to live in the fresh air, and with horses, the two things that made me feel free. I decided I would become a therapeutic riding instructor.

Whenever it felt as if my world was crashing in – whether because of the latest bully or because of father’s suffocating expectations – I’d hop on my bike. I’d speed down the gravel street to the next farm, where an old farmhouse and abandoned dock sat on the edge of a marshy lake. Then I’d run down to the shore, down the rickety dock, and collapse on the bench at the end. When it was pouring, and even when the lake was frozen over for winter, I could still be found there most every evening. There were no judgments, no threats, no expectations – just my thoughts and the breeze in my hair.

Somewhere in all that, I grew up. When I was accepted into the Equine Studies program at the college of my dreams, I first called Em. Then I hopped on my bike, and rode out to the dock. I danced in circles down the dock, and let out a few shouts of glee. After the earlier hard blows in life, it felt like the world was being handed to me.

In my freshman college classes, I met a man named Jeff. He was studying to be a social worker and loved to bring flowers to my dorm room. We’ve been married four years now. The only thing he knew about my high school years is that it was hard and awkward. That is the sort of nondescript thing any adult could look back and say. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him enough to tell him everything. I only didn’t want to relive it all: the threats, the bullying, the many, many tears I cried on that dock.

I looked back at the photo in my hand. I’d always sworn that when I was older and had a trusted confidant, I would take that person to the dock. I knew that dock didn’t look like much to anyone else. That wasn’t the point. The one person that I truly trusted deserved to see the place that had helped me become who I am. Life had swept me away and I’d forgotten that promise. Jeff and I lived on the other side of town now, but that self same dock was only a few miles drive away.

“There you are, honey.” Jeff stood in the doorway, head cocked. He must have just walked in from work. “You alright?”

I nodded.  “Want to go on a drive tonight?”

His eyes glittered with adventure. “Where to?”

“To Otter Lake – where I grew up.”

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