Average Jane



A Date with My Past

As I approached Barnes and Nobles, butterflies filled my stomach. I had gotten nervous every time I thought about it all day. I had reached out. And now, I was scared.

This date was different — it was with my past.

I grew up in a neighborhood straight out of the movies. We had pick up baseball game and lemonade stands. We had cliques and clubs. We had 8′ snow men, and penny wars. We had a fully produced play on a hand built stage in one of our backyards.

But I was bullied. And excluded. And seemingly a constant impediment to fun. (Oh, well.)

The group of kids I grew up with will always be a part of my life regardless of how awful those years were. They were critical in the most formative years of my youth. They are my “past”. It’s been years and years since I’ve seen any of them. I always assumed it was better that way.

I don’t know why, exactly, but a few weeks ago I decided to get in touch with one of those neighborhood kids. She was everything I was not. She was everything I wanted to be. And she was always nice to me.

We couldn’t have been more different, and the opportunity for her to turn on me… like the rest of the kids… the opportunity was great. But she didn’t. Quiet and subdued, she just let things roll. She accepted me for what I was, whatever I was.

The years went by and by. And out of nowhere, there I am again — back in her life.

Without hesitation, she jumped at the opportunity to reunite. And even though I was the one who reached out my hand to her, it was me who was nervous. Why? What was I afraid of? Heck. She was lucky. She missed out on all those dark years of my life. She didn’t have to suffer through my hardest times. She didn’t have to know anything I didn’t want to tell her. So what was there to lose?

My heart thumped as I approached my destination. I nervously read the paper, peeking up over my glasses every time the door swung open. I sat thinking about her perfect life. Thinking that she was going to go on and on about her fabulous husband and her amazing job and how wonderful and smoothly things had gone for her in the intervening 8 years.

And then she showed up. And smiled. And I forgot it all. She was the same girl she had been all those years before. Warm. Inquisitive. Unassuming.

It’s funny the tricks my mind plays on me. I constantly expect the worst. Typically I’m not disappointed. But not lately. Lately, I have let people surprise me. And it’s been … refreshing. Enlightening. Amazing.

I am finding the light people from my darkest moments. I’m finding hope in the people I knew when I was hopeless. I’ve turned yet another corner, and am thrilled to death that the people I knew at my worst, get to finally see me at my best.

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Comments

  1. * Laundro says:

    yay!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Arjewtino says:

    This was very well written, AJ.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Kyle says:

    that was really touching. I relate to feeling like the odd man out during childhood. maybe not to the extreme that you were, but I was always the chubby girl. and I knew people like the girl that you knew…a few people who were always SO geniunely nice. There needs to be more of those types in this world!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago


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