Welcome! This is a new feature on my blog: “Scene from a memoir I haven’t written yet.”
Photo by Patrik Jones
I roam the playground of West Hill School with Meg, Tracy, and another girl whose name escapes me. Meg is the center of our little group; she calls the shots, and the rest of us fall in and out of the spot as her favorite.
Over to the baseball diamond, by the swings, onto the blacktop, and to the front of the school, we walk around with no destination, joking and chatting the recess away.
Without warning, the three girls look at each other and start running away from me. I join in the game, giving chase. They keep running. Any time I catch up, they run away again.
It slowly dawns on me that the purpose of the game is to get away from me. And stay away.
I sit down on the pavement. I am hurt, confused, but above that, I feel a deep sense of dread that everyone is watching my humiliation. I am frozen there, alone.
“Hey, Marcy,” I hear. I look over to see this tall girl Pam standing with two of her friends. I know their names, but I don’t know any of them.
What new humiliation awaits me? I stand up and walk over.
“Come play with us.” And just like that, I am in a group of girls, the humiliation lifted. Relief floods through me.
I don’t remember whether I played with Pam and her friends the next day too. What I do remember is that Meg, Tracy, and the other one never played with me again.
Three years later, I had an assigned seat next to Meg in a junior high school history class. We exchanged small talk once in a while. Mostly as I looked at her I thought, Why? Why did you do that to me? A few times I almost asked her.
Part of me regrets never finding out why. Most of me is glad I never asked. The likelihood that she wouldn’t even remember it is worse than finding out whatever reason those girls might have had.
Now I want to say to Pam: “Thanks.”