It was a shirt.
Red and White
Over a blue laundry bag.
In a room.
I had my first beer when I was 13 years old. The year was 2001 and I was a freshman in high school.
I was in mostly sophomore classes, with the exception of History, English, and Mathematics. My two electives were: Computer Science (which Jason was in), and Art (which Mimi and Maria were both in, we were the only students in that class, everyone else took music, I think? Everyone told me I sucked. Ken (who looks like a student in the class I took with Justine Pizzo) told me it was Avant Garde, he used to buy me copies of the Sandman comics, it was awkward and we had to be all secretive about it (as if they were drugs) as my mother didn’t want me to read comics, etc. Timothy K said he hated me because of my art and no longer liked me and now much preferred Mariah. The Art teacher said I was just not trying hard enough.)
I was in 11th grade English class taught by a woman named Rachel. I was in Biology, taught by a woman named Rebecca (I do not remember the spelling of her name). She was a horrible teacher. She had two favorites in the class: Timothy K and a girl named Mary. Neither of whom were liked by anyone that mattered then. Rebecca assigned us a homework assignment to write a short story on a disease. Timothy K rolled his eyes and said it was just because I was good at English and she was trying to get my grade up. She said yes, it was because I was good at English. And this frightened me, as I was doing well in Biology. I did the assignment. My mom put it into a yellow notebook for me and drew the old man with the aches and pains, and the grave stone on the hill. I got an A but then when I refused to let Rebecca keep it and give it to her friend to publish under his name she changed my grade to a B-. I reported her to the vice-principal and the principal but they didn’t care, and claimed their hands were tied. Rebecca would slam the door and lock me out whenever she or one of them saw me walking up the stairs on the way to class, so I was unable to attend most classes that year.
I had stolen the beer bottle from a grocery store a few blocks from home. Home, in those days, was my parents’ apartment, located in Midtown, Manhattan, near Carnegie Hall.
I could not figure out how to open the damned rugged-edged bottle top. This just served to make me more determined to have a taste of this forbidden elixir. So I brought it to school with me. School in those days was The Beekman School. I was the youngest, or at least always assumed it was so.
When I arrived I sought out my good friend, Mariah. She commuted from Albany. She looked like a model with her long neck and perfect features. She became very excited when I showed her my prize.
This excitement soon soured into disappointment when she realized I had only managed to steal one small bottle of beer.
Pete, as an Italian boy who was a very staunch Catholic, got annoyed with me and finally agreed to open it during my lunch period. I ended up spitting it out and dumping the rest down the toilet. While Mariah watched laughing oddly.
She stopped speaking to me after that day, deeming me too boring. It was odd but I never actually cared much. I wasn’t interested in being friends with someone like that anyways.
Mimi slowly started avoiding me after that as well.
That was the friendship lost that upset me the most that year. And for what? The taste of warm piss in my mouth and bile from the back of my throat that would take over a week to forget and remove from my mouth.
Mariah, Mimi, and I were often found hanging out together that year.
But even in friendships I suppose the number 3 is too much. Someone was bound to be left behind. That someone ended up being me.
That was the same year that I was in English, Biology, and French class with Timothy K. He was always rude and mean. Mariah said I should be nice to him because Tim was a sensitive kid. He had burst into tears when Mariah refused to go out with him. So I tried to be nice to him.
There was a girl in one of my study halls who always was sucking on a baby pacifier. She pretended like she could keep a secret and be a good confidante.
One night before we moved to the apartment I would come to call home, something bad happened. I remember flashing lights, the bed, the fear, the suffocating breathing, the breakdown and coming to. Sitting up in bed with a man there, telling me to leave and saying something about money.
I don’t remember it well now. But the girl with the pacifier said that if I had sex it was okay but only if it was my boyfriend. I told her I didn’t have one and she said she would tell people I was a slut. So to placate her I told her I had one.
But then she asked if it hurt. I said yes. And she smiled and told the world. The world in those days was everyone I knew.
I became the psycho, the basket-case, the mad cap kid. Simply because the man had done it so well. I don’t even remember what he looked like. But that is more because of the school-wide torment I received at the hands of my fellow classmates and my Biology teacher, Rebecca, who took great pleasure in constantly telling me that I was no longer a child, as I was not a virgin. And yeah, according to the man, that wasn’t his fault or his doing. It had already been taken.
And my family: they shouted at me calling me all kinds of names, liar included.
Because my brother said I had never left the house even though I did. I had told him to call the cops or mom and dad because I was scared. I wanted my parents to save me.
My brother said I was feeling selfish and if he told anyone they would just feel sorry for me and buy me things and forget about him.
The gym teacher, among other people, tried to convince me to report the person to the cops.
(Why person? Well, was he a rapist? I was a child. What is child molestation? It includes all forms of penetration. But to me that was rape, though I would never have at that age been ready or willing for any sexual intercourse of any kind.)
But that was the problem.
The red-headed pacifier sucker was running around the school claiming to be my best friend and naming the person (my so-called boyfriend) she made me create “for fun”. She said it would take the nightmares away if I turned my rapist into someone I could be attracted to.
And so my 9th grade ended with everyone thinking of me a liar for all the wrong reasons.
And the real nightmare of that place?
How many times have we run into each other? How many cruel things have you done to me?
I have seen you looking through my notebooks. I have seen you taking them.
And I remember you dumping water on my stories and stealing others.
And yes, Tim, I remember when I was 13 you asked me out and I hit you with a rock and somehow you made me scared a lot. And yes, I remember meeting you again when I was 16 in 2005.
What? Am I not even allowed that small amount of education?
And I really couldn’t care less at this point.
I am not that girl anymore.
And though I may be fat that is no excuse and I was never that person who missed those days or you or anyone. Like you claimed I only wrote for you (as others have before and after you) and that all my writings belonged to you.