I remember very little of my school years and I'm not sure why. I remember what the ground and the floor tiles and the dingy carpets with blackened and hardened gum patches looked like probably because I was often looking down and thinking don't notice me, don't call on me, maybe I will disappear and not be here any more and instead I will live in the princess's castle at Disneyland forever and eat cotton candy every meal.
I played the flute in elementary school and I remember very little of learning to play the flute, although I do remember at least one recital in which my school's "musicians," if we could be called that, banded together with kids from other schools and played rapid renditions of songs I don't remember. I just remember not being able to keep up and pretending I was blowing into my flute and moving my fingers as though I were playing but really I was just staring in consternation at the sheet music and thinking the fifth grader's equivalent of What in holy hell have I gotten myself into?
My best friend played the clarinet and after that she tells me we agreed we were not destined to join the symphony and we ditched our respective instruments under our beds. I don't actually remember deciding that but she tells me that, indeed, is what happened, seeing as how we had the opportunity to join our middle school band in the seventh grade and declined to do so. Which I also don't remember. I do remember joining the drama club but mostly so I could wear the sweatshirt that featured the comedy and tragedy masks, which I wore almost every day and which I was wearing one time when walking home alone and a mean boy named Daniel said he wanted to rape me. Which was probably a joke about my ugly sweatshirt. He's the same boy who teased me mercilessly the time I sat in strawberry juice. He yelled I guess it's that time of the month!
I hear he is happily married now, and not a rapist after all, supposedly.
I don't remember almost any of the good stuff. A mentally challenged boy had a crush on me and used to leave love notes on my desks, which was particularly awkward in health class. This is what a vagina looks like, the teacher would be explaining, and I would just long for obliteration.
An older boy in Spanish class used to show up drunk on root beer schnapps after lunch and sit behind me and write dirty sex stories on lined binder paper and try to touch my back. Eventually I was moved to the other side of the class, near a girl who had terrible acne but was so nice and she wanted to be a model and had paid for professional head shots, which I complimented her on. In Spanish class we played pelota and the mean boys would throw the ball too hard at Senorita Feige but she still never caught a clue and stopped playing pelota.
At dinner the other night with two old friends we sat and tried to remember the name of the boy one of them once asked out during our freshman year. I'd gone with her for moral support and announced to him Maria would like to ask you something! (Maria is not her real name). And he'd said OK and then I'd stood politely a few feet away while Maria asked him out and he responded quite quickly that No, he would not be interested in going out with her. She moved away after freshman year and we kept all of our letters to each other, and in reviewing them together a few years ago I've decided it's too traumatic to separate good friends at age 14.
I went home and found the boy in our yearbook and texted his name to my friends and mused about the other boys we liked. I had it bad for a boy who I don't remember ever so much much as looking at me for more than a moment. There was a mean girl who teased me about it for a while before she tired of it. She was once a customer of mine when I was waiting tables at Chili's and she didn't leave me a tip. She was a bitch, and that boy I liked is fat now.
These are just things I've been mulling, as I was listening to the radio and thinking Drums would have been cool but who wants to play the drums for the school's fight song? Which I also don't remember.