There was a request that I tell this story, which I hate to tell. I hate telling it because it just shows how completely deranged and barbaric I was as a child. Anyway, here we go.
In 4th grade, approximately 5 months prior to my awkward love letter to Albert (name changed), I met Eleanor (name changed).
At my elementary school, 4th graders didn’t go back to class after lunch on Tuesdays. Instead, we all loaded into cars driven by our classmates’ parents, and we headed to the local YMCA where we had swimming lessons for the next two hours. These are the privileges of attending rich private schools.
The locker room was damp but clean; a thin layer of water was visible on the red linoleum floor. The fluorescent lights on the ceiling shone down through the evaporating water in a yellow haze, lending an ethereal feeling to an ordinary space. Some of the girls were standing underneath the hand driers, cleverly using the machines to dry their freshly showered tresses. Others sat on the shiny wooden benches and combed through their locks, humming softly.
I was busy marching rhythmically across the locker room, singing boisterously as I was wont to do. I had thrust my arms through the handles of a plastic shopping bag, and I was wearing the sack across my front instead of a shirt. My thin arms swung wildly as I belted out my inharmonious tune.
Eleanor looked up at me as I marched past. She smoothed down her silky, brown hair, checking that the part was even.
“Jordan, do you have a crush on Luke (name changed)?”
She stopped me dead in my tracks. The plastic bag crinkled in complaint at the sudden change of movement. I stared at her, my tiny hands balling into fists. Did I have a crush on Luke? Luke?! The loser? The boy who bruised his own arms and then claimed to be a victim? The pariah of our grade? My world went red.
And then I bit her.
I got detention for 3 days, and Eleanor got detention for 2 days, apparently for provoking me. Detention consisted of spending recess in the principal’s office while she was at lunch. The first day that Eleanor and I spent together, we immediately resolved the issue. We spent the next day confiding in each other and becoming thick as thieves. And there you have it.