Like I’ve said before, Facebook is that great connector of friends and “friends,” and it’s amazing the people I’ve connected with in the past year who wouldn’t give me the time of day when we were in grade school or junior high.
A couple of years ago, I was talking with a girl I was really good friends with growing up, and we were talking about some of the people we’ve connected with on Facebook. Anna is a year older than me, and we were talking about some of her classmates and how they treated her. When I was in fifth grade and Anna in sixth, this girl named Tracy moved to our town and almost immediately became not just a member of the popular kids, but the leader of the popular kids. I never really had a problem with Tracy, but apparently she made Anna’s life miserable. Anna’s comment to me was, “I can forgive a lot of things, but I won’t ever forgive Tracy for the way she treated me when we were younger.”
Do we all have that one person from our childhoods we just can’t forgive? Or if we can forgive them, we will never forget the way that person treated us and we don’t want to even think about them?
I have that one person for sure. His name is John. He was in Anna’s class (in fact, Anna is friends with him on Facebook, ha). Our personalities just clash. They have since we were eight and nine. I have run the gamut of actions with him: I fought with him; ignored him; taunted him; cussed at him; and anything else I could think of that would get under his skin. I think he did the same to me.
I remember very few specifics of my interactions with John, just that we really disliked each other, and when we were in junior high he took as many opportunities as he could to annoy me. The one incident I remember really well was during the spring musical, and he and I both had small parts and shared one scene. The week of dress rehearsals is mostly a blur, but I remember two or three days before opening night, I was walking off backstage and into the school hallway when I heard John shout at me, “Hey, Girl, I heard a rumor that you were on birth control pills! What for?” As I turned to look at him, he was smirking at me.
Now that I’m an adult, this doesn’t seem like it should have been such a big deal to me, and I should have just given him the finger and walked away. But when I was twelve, the last thing I wanted people to think about me at all was that I was on birth control pills, because they meant they believed I was having sex with someone. At twelve. Yeah.
I was a very well-developed twelve year old. I’ve got great birthing hips and always have, which means I had some serious curves when I was that age. I also had big boobs, much bigger than the average twelve year old. I had reached my full height and was still taller than many of the boys in my class, and I was really mature for my age. Combine all of these things, and you have a twelve-year-old who looks and acts a lot older then she is. I had more than one person tell me they thought I was seventeen when I was twelve and thirteen.
But I was modest. I didn’t wear tight clothing, t-shirts (because I thought the lack of a collar drew attention to my boobs), tank tops, or anything sleeveless. I was, and still am, uncomfortable showing more skin than is necessary, and I didn’t and still don’t like dresses. So of course in this musical, I was playing an adult woman who had to wear a fitted dress with no collar that barely hit my knees. I got to show off all of those things I always tried to hide.
To this day I have no idea if there was actually a rumor going around our junior high that I was taking birth control pills, and I’m convinced that if there was, it was because someone saw me in that dress and decided to do some slut shaming. I’m also convinced that if there was a rumor, John started it.
So anyway. John and I have quite a few facebook friends in common, and every time - every single time – I see him comment on a mutual friend’s status, I think, “Why the hell is this person friends with John?”
John has his own business in the town we grew up in, a pretty large and well-known business doing something with livestock. He lives right outside of town; in fact, his house and business are on the way to my parents’ house (if we decide not to take the back road), so when we take the main road into town, I am reminded of him. As you can imagine, we don’t take the main road very often.
Earlier this week, I read a post he’d written about how he was putting his business up for sale due to health and personal issues. A friend of mine was tagged in the post, so I was able to see the whole thing. I’m really mean sometimes, because I was doing a little dance on my head when I read that he’d been divorced twice in the last ten years. Not only was I dancing, I was shouting, “Serves you right, you asshole! What woman in her right mind would want to be around you enough to want to marry you anyway?!”
Very Christ-like attitude, huh? Yeah.
I am fortunate in that of all of the people with whom I’m now facebook friends, if we weren’t friends in school, they at least left me alone and I was able to ignore them for the most part. There might have been a few times they were actively mean to me, but mostly they just left me alone. But then there’s John. John, who just couldn’t leave me alone. John, who actively did what he could to annoy, condescend to, and verbally abuse me. Like Tracy is to Anna, he’s that one person in my life who I will always think of as a vile, smug, and rude person, even though it’s been over twenty years since I’ve seen him in person.
And I honestly hope I never see him again.