A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. ~Edward de Bono
The tattered laces that hold my mothers forty year old ice skates over my shoulder threaten to break at any moment. The right skate bounces hard against my right breast as the left bangs hard against my spine. Dirty from years of use by my mother and even more years of storage near the oil furnace in my parent’s basement, I found myself surprised they were useful to me.
They hurt my feet of course. My mother’s feet are smaller than mine but they were the only skates I had access to. There was certainly no money to purchase new ones for me. I managed to get them on my feet by using knee high stockings instead of heavy socks. This permitted my not quite size 10 feet to fit into the size 8 boot but it provided absolutely no protection against the cold. Not only were my toes crammed to the front but they were now frozen into small ice cubes.
As I pondered my aching feet, Regan babbled on next to me. Every now and then I would mutter an “uh-huh” or “yeah” just to keep her content. I did not really care what she was saying. She always talked too much.
“That puke yellow car has passed us several times”, she said. “I am getting kind of nervous”.
It was dark. We were a mile away from home and the roads were slick with ice and snow. The streets were nearly deserted due to the winter blast that had arrived two days prior. If we were being stalked or harassed there was not much we could do about it. Running fast was not an option as we were sure to slip on the icy sidewalks.
The car drove by one more time and slowed to a stop. We ignored it and kept walking.
“Hey, girls”, a young male voice screamed from the car. “Need a ride somewhere? You two hotties look like coldies right now”, the voice continues.
A snort of laughter is heard from a second male. We keep walking.
“Regan! Why are you being such a bitch?” the second voice screamed.
Regan turned and stared at me. “Who was that?” she said.
“How do I know? They called YOUR name.” I respond.
Doesn’t surprise me. Regan has a cute little body. She is blonde with blue eyes and the boys adore her. She is a bit of a tomboy, rough and tumble yet with a body that makes boys salivate (and probably do other nasty things). They would never be calling for me. I am a big girl. Too large in the butt, too big in the chest area. I am the smart friend. She is the pretty one. It’s always been that way.
We stop walking and allow the car to stop in front of us. Regan steps closer and peers into the car. I begin scanning the street looking for an escape route or a police officer just in case this turns out badly.
“Damian Corrigan, you scared us! What do you want?” Regan screeches with a mixture of anger and girlish excitement.
Clearly she knows the passenger. She waves me over to the car.
I approach and stand there. I am annoyed. My feet are freezing, my back hurts from having a metal blade jammed into it for the past half hour. It is late and I am not supposed to be talking to boys in cars. Knowing Regan as I do, this has the potential to be a long drawn out encounter.
I begin tapping my frozen foot and sighing. The smoke from my exhaled breath seems to freeze in the air. I wonder for a second if I could produce smoke rings like my mother does with her cigarette.
Regan begins to giggle. It is that annoying flirty giggle of hers. She likes one of the boys. I can tell.
The slant of her hip, pushed out to the right, her leaning over, her giggling. All sure signs that Regan is flirting.
If I don’t get in on the action here, I could be forced to literally stand out in the cold. I approach the car and finally look at who she is talking to.
Two boys, both blonde, are sitting in the front. I recognize the passenger from our class at school. Dave? Dan? Darryl? I don’t recall his name. His only memorable feature is his eyebrow piercing and the nasty lobe stretcher he has in his left ear. I have no idea who the driver is. They glance up at me as I approach but don’t utter a word. They are too taken with Regan.
Suddenly there is movement in the backseat. Regan and I both jump back in surprise. We had no idea there was a third occupant.
“So, hey, who are you, oh dark mysterious boy in the back seat” I say. Regan snickers next to me.
Boy says nothing.
“Can you talk? Whatsa matter? Cat got your tongue?” I say. Regan snickers louder.
“Yeah. I can talk. I just don’t feel like it. You friend seemed to be doing enough for all of us”, he says.
Now it’s my turn to laugh. He has her figured out already.
“Hey! That’s not nice.” Regan says. She stomps away to the other side of the car to talk with the driver. I lean in closer and try to get a look at the dark figure in the back.
“So, what’s your name?” I ask.
“Jake”, he says.
“Do you have a last name Jake? Or are you like Prince or something?” I ask.
My approach to flirting is usually sarcasm. While Regan giggles and coos and flips her long blonde hair, I am inspecting, attacking, offending, and defending. I like to play hard to get. I am not easily impressed by boys and could seriously live without them. Well, that’s not entirely true. I view them more as a high school social fashion accessory than something I require in my life. I want a boyfriend because you are supposed to have a boyfriend when you are high school. I don’t want a boyfriend because I have some overwhelming desire to be coddled, protected, kissed and babied. I don’t need that. I can take care of myself. I always have and I always will. I don’t NEED anyone.
“I know you” says Jake.
“Me? You know me?” I reply. “How do you know me?”
“You are Maggie Trager, aren’t you?” Jake asks.
At this point I think I feel as if I might vomit in my throat a bit.
“Maggie Trager! No. I am not Maggie Trager but I hear that every now and then” I respond.
Maggie Trager is a dumpy, frumpy, Jehovah Witness girl that also goes to our school. I am often asked if I am related to her and that is not a compliment. Oh, she is nice enough. She and her twelve siblings that live in that two bedroom apartment are all nice but she is not cool. She will never be popular. It is not a good thing to be associated with her. She doesnt salute the flag in homeroom.
“Oh, sorry.” Jake says.
“Then who are you?” he asks.
“Oh, right. Yeah. I know your brother. He goes to my school. We are on the same bus together” Jake says rather excitedly.
“Oh, how nice for you” I say rather sarcastically.
“AH!” screeches Regan. “We have to go. My mother will kill me. We are way beyond late getting home. Ciao boys. Catch you on the flip side.”
Regan begins walking away from the car. I shrug my shoulders, wave goodbye to Jake and we continue on our way home.