Inspired by The Wonder Years, here is an excerpt from a short piece I’m working on. Non-fiction. 🙂
Approximately 17 years ago, I experienced a horrifying incident during fifth grade recess. It’s highly likely that I was wearing one of my cousin’s ugly hand-me-down outfits on this particular day – we’ll say the pink shirt sprinkled with obnoxious glittery rainbow seashells underneath some acid wash overalls. I might have been wearing some sneakers with light-up heels. My stringy, dirty-blonde hair hung down slightly past my chin. A small forehead with no bangs to grace it, blue-grey eyes, and a hint of mischief made up my countenance.
Minding my own business with some female friends, we perched atop the jungle gym dome, made kickass rexlace lanyards to trade, and argued about the best Bonne Bell Lip Smacker flavors (it was Dr. Pepper, bitch!). I remember admiring a certain girl’s ears – she had double lobe piercings and four piercings curving up her cartilage. I wanted to be hardcore like her.
After a while we got tired of the dome and slid off, wandering over to the playground. It wasn’t much – just a few slides, a couple different kinds of monkey bars, a bridge, and some platforms. The boys inhabited this zone. Boys. Those icky creatures who burped, farted, made crass jokes and picked gooey boogers out of their nasal cavities. They usually left us alone. After mastering the monkey bars and sliding down a few slides, we hopped on top of the wobbly bridge. At this time a group of 6 boys came cruising over. Whaaat? This couldn’t be good. Ryan, Jimmy, Will, Sean, Jordan, and Jeremy stopped right in front of us. They were here on business. Jimmy walked up to me with a smirk on his face and declared, “Jeremy wants to go out with you.” I narrowed my eyes. Jeremy was hiding in the back, looking everywhere but my eyes.
He was the palest boy I had ever seen. Dark hair framed his bashful face. Overall he looked like just a regular kid…with a touch of goth. He usually wore simple t-shirts, jackets, and jeans. I sat next to him in class for a while and would always tease and pinch him. I called him “Germy.” We had a good time.
But this…this was unacceptable – for fuck’s sake, he was a BOY. And I didn’t like boys. Or at least I didn’t think I did. And I certainly didn’t want anyone else to think I did.
“So…will you go out with him? C’MON!” Jimmy haggled.
“Yeah, do it!” the other boys chimed in. I could feel the pressure.
The girls around me giggled and chattered. “Oooooo,” they hissed. I caught Jeremy’s eyes for a brief moment. He looked terrified. I felt cornered.
“No!!!!!” I bellowed, crossing my arms. The rioting commenced.
“Come ON, just go out with him. You’re so mean!” Blah blah, I wasn’t hearing any of it. I turned on my heels, broke through the girl gauntlet, slid down the next slide and marched over to the swings. But I was being followed by a gaggle of 5th graders. They were taunting me mercilessly.
“Do it! Do eeeet! C’mon, don’t be a prude!” I knew this would never end. And I sort of started to feel bad for Jeremy. I did like the guy, but I didn’t like being embarrassed.
“ALL RIGHT! All right. Yes!” I answered, exasperated. There were roars, cheers, shrieks, and hoots. I had my first boyfriend. They pushed Jeremy toward me and all of a sudden everyone disappeared. We were alone. He gulped, and I gulped. My stomach felt weird and twisty. “Hi…” I said.
“Hi,” he replied, smiling shyly and shuffling the woodchips around with one of his feet. The bell rang for us to go inside.