When summer was finally over during that first year, I had to start school. my very first “new school” experience. i was freaked! new town, new school, my mom never bought me “cool” clothes throughout my entire school life. i was also not very thin, but i wasnt overweight yet, just thick and with a very very low self esteem (wonder why).. plus i was cursed with curly, poofy hair that my mom made me keep short up until around this time. i was every once geeky and lame looking.
on the first day of school, all of the new kids had to sit in the lunch room until they were assigned to their new teachers i guess? i was starting the 6th grade, so still in grade school. there was actually a student there that i went to school with before we moved, from the city. which was really weird, because we had gone to school together since kindergarten. so, major relief.. but its not like him and i were ever friends, but it was nice i think for both of us to see a familiar, friendly face.
that first day of school was long and boring.. the boy that i knew was put in a different class, so again i was on my own.. i hated being there and i had no desire to come back the second day. i was stuck riding the bus, which i had never had to before, and the ride home that day was a nightmare.. one of the high school kids at the back of the bus walked up and stuck a wad of slimy pink gum in my frizzy poofy hair. but i was too nervous to stand up for myself, and no one else around me seemed to care, they were all laughing hysterically.
the next morning, i went up to my bus stop waiting area up the hill from behind my house, and i was early.. i know i was early, because i was so worried about missing the bus, that i wanted to make sure i was on time. well, i waited for over an hour.. and the bus. never. came.
at first i went into panic mode. i raced back to my house and paced around the house. i had never skipped school before.. i had ditched school a few times. the first time was when i was in kindergarten (yep, really). my friend had a little bit of money, and mcdonalds was only about 10 blocks away, so we walked there and bought french fries. dont ask me how we got away with walking away from school when we were probably only 5 or 6 years old, or werent questioned at mcdonalds because i barely remember any of it.. my mom was informed by the school because when we were walking back down the street (i lived a block away from school, and my friend lived a block from me), we were apparently busted by the assistant principal, and i happily told him about our adventure that day. i ditched another time in 4th grade, but that was uneventful.. in either case, i suffered the wrath of my mom, and i was terrified that she wouldnt believe that the bus just didnt come.
after a while however, i gave up on trying to come up with a plan, and plopped down on the couch.. i was happy that i didnt have to go back to that school!
when my parents got home that day, everything was normal.. i was shocked that they didnt know, but really relieved too. so, i figured this was it. this was how i was going to play it. if the school didnt call her to tell her that i wasnt there, then they probably werent going to call her tomorrow right?
i magically skipped school for 3, count them THREE (1, 2, 3) weeks without getting caught! i got an extended summer vacation 🙂 every single day when my mom got home from work, she would ask “do you have homework?” and i would proudly state “nope, i did it in school”.
now, im not going to tell you what my moms job was, because i’m trying to keep as much anonymity as possible, but her job was one where she was no where near a phone for her entire work day, and i think it was technically a city job. so im assuming thats why she was never informed of my constant absences? but still, no letters? i intercepted the mail every day, but there was never anything in the mail box from the school, or any attempted phone calls.. so that shows how much this lovely school really cared for its students! not like it was a large school, it was in the center of this little town with a population of MAYBE 1,000 people, tops.
alright, so, 3 freakin weeks of bliss! you may ask “did you really think you could do this for the next 5 or 6 years??” but i didnt think long term really, i thought about the present, the future wasnt even a thought.
one day, mom comes home from work, and because before we moved, homework had always been an issue with me, my mom said to me “im just so proud of you and thrilled that you’re doing so well. im going to call your teacher tomorrow and just check in”.
i think my eyes almost fell out of my head, and the air was sucked out of the room. i was frozen to the spot where i stood. i think my life flashed before my eyes too. there was no way around it, i had to come clean.
“mom, about that…………..” and i unloaded the truth. i spoke the words so fast, i dont think she understood at first.
and then i saw it sink in. her face started to turn that shade of red that tells me that something bad is coming.
i waited for the slap or the cruel words or the screaming.. i braced myself.. but they didnt come, when i looked back at her through my flood of tears, she started laughing.
my mom was chuckling so hard she had to sit down. i got angry and yelled “stop laughing, its not funny!” and she stopped after a while.. i know that we didnt fight, but i dont remember how the talk went.. i know that i begged her not to tell dad.. and she said that she wouldnt (but of course she did).
she said to me that i wasnt in trouble, but i BETTER have my ass on that bus the next school day, or blah blah blah, probably some cold and mean threat that she regularly dished out. but i knew full well that she meant it. and i wasnt about to test it.
so the next day, i was up at the bus stop and waited. but again, there was no bus. but still, scared shitless that i would get the beating of my life, i knew i better figure out a way to get there. the problem was though, the school was 5 miles away, and i had 4 miles of gravel road to travel, and i better get moving.
bicycle! i knew we had some 10 speed bikes in the shed next to the house. so i went and checked them out.
all of them had flat tires, most of them were missing parts and didnt have a chain.
i took the best looking one anyway, flat tires and all. i got up to the road, hopped on and began to pedal away, but found that i was barely moving at a snails pace. i stood up to pedal, and probably got the biggest workout of my life. turns out, its damn near impossible to right a bike with flat tires on gravel. theres noooooo traction. but i said DAMN near impossible. not totally impossible. i road that busted up bike for 3 miles out of sheer terror of what my mom would do if i didnt make it to school.
just before the end of the road was in view, a beat up truck pulled up beside me with an icky looking, greasy mountain man in the driver seat, and his redneck daughter (maybe?) beside him, and when they looked at my bike, they chuckled, and asked where i was headed.. all i said was “school”, and he said “well yer a lil late looks like, wanna ride?” he showed me his watch, it was after 9! i didnt hesitate, i said yes.. he put my bike in the bed of the truck, and i climbed in with it. all i could think was that i HAD to get to school. if i was kidnapped, then maybe she wont be mad that i missed school again.
after a while i knew the school was getting close, but my imagination was started to get the better of me, plus, i had only been to the school once before, i wasnt sure how to get to it. i started thinking that maybe he really WAS going to kidnap me.. did he miss the turn? i think he did, wasnt it back there? where are we going? should i jump? what about the bike? do i get in trouble for missing school and being kidnapped, or do i get in trouble for losing the bike? oh my god, he did miss the turn!
he turned. pulled to a stop at the school curb, and hopped out. my heart felt like it was going to blow up and out of my chest.
the man lifted my bike up and out “ya shouldn’ be ridin this bike like you was. and this is just a 10 speed bike, its not meant to ride on dirt like that either. you should get one of them mountain type bicycles……”
“yep! thanks for the ride!” and i was racing to dump the bike at the bike rack near the doors and get my late ass inside.
for the next week, i rode that bike to school. the only difference being that i would leave for school at 7 so i could be there just before 8:30 when school started.
and it was working! my mom was happy, i was happy i wasnt fighting with her, however, my body felt like it slowly dying. riding a bike every day is one thing.. wonderful work out, leaves you feeling great. but fighting with a broken bike on a rocky road is a totally different story. you use muscles you didnt know existed. i doubt those muscles knew that they existed either.
(i never accepted a ride from anyone again either, lol)
that Friday as i was riding my broken bike home, i was about a mile away from home, a car rolls to a stop beside me.. i stopped to look, and when the dust settled, i saw my moms face. there was amusement, confusion and worry on her face.
“what in the world are you doing???” (she wasnt sick, i dont remember why she was home early)
we put the seats down in the back of our white ford escort wagon, and i practically dragged myself to the passenger seat and collapsed. i felt like i had just finished a week long marathon. she asked me again “what were you doing on that thing???”
i told her “i was afraid of missing school and the bus doesnt come to get me so i had to ride the bike”.
“You’ve been riding that all week?? why didnt you tell me that the bus wasnt coming for you?! i could have called and gotten it straightened out”.
i. didnt. think. of. that.
we got home and mom blew up the school’s phone, and demanded to know why the bus wasnt coming to get me. “we didnt think anyone lived down that road”.
my mom chewed that woman a new ass hole for #1, not sending a bus, #2, not informing her of my absences by mail or some form on communication “you can call my husband at his work! you have his contact information as well!” (oops, i never thought of that either!).
todays blog turned out to be longer than i intended, and it was really only about that one story.. i’ll have more tomorrow! 🙂
luvs & hugs