Hair pulling, teasing, pinching, name-calling, tattling, insulting, fighting. Oh boy, did we have a history.
Last week I went on a date with my elementary school nemesis.
You could say it was a date 2 months in the making. You could say it was a date 20 years in the making.
When he picked me up for our date, my first glimpse of him was through the windshield of his brand-new BMW. It was the first time I’d seen him in almost a decade. The last time we’d seen each other was in high school, an interaction so brief he doesn’t even remember it. I, however, have a memory like the sticky traps city dwellers place in the crack behind their refrigerators. It doesn’t just catch the big mouse-sized memories; it catches dust, hair, any small particle. Besides, it’s hard to forget when someone makes you feel like shit.
It was one of the few house parties I went to in high school, some friend of a friend’s sweet sixteen. With probably fifty teenagers in attendance, this was not a rager but still a great party from my not-a-cool-kid perspective. While the birthday girl’s parents cut the cake, a live ska band played in the front room. The front man was about 6’2, still with the same fiery hair and cocky attitude he’d had since age 5. I had not seen him post-puberty but I recognized him immediately as my Elementary School Nemesis. He looked remarkably the same and yet so different… The little boy who had given me constant cause for cootie shots was now grown up, and inextricably attractive.
I, however, was unrecognizable from my elementary school self. My signature blonde pigtails replaced by an androgynous shaggy bob, so abused by home dye-jobs it looked like the worst-case-scenerio of a tye-dye shirt: when all the colors blend together and you’re left with something you’ll never wear. The adorable pink dresses that defined my K-5 signature style replaced by my teenaged signature style: best described as part punk-rock part creeps-leave-me-alone-if-I-wear-shapeless-clothing. The know-it-all nature I was known for in fourth grade had morphed into the awkward insecurity of a teenaged girl.
I wasn’t the kind of girl who approached the lead singer of a band (as you know) or any kind of attractive teenaged boy for that mater (which might explain my recent travesty with just such a nineteen year-old). It was no small thing that I squeaked his name inquisitively as he walked right by me, “Nemesis?” He turned, “Yeah?” There was no look of recollection in his eyes, instead I saw the glaring sentiment: Girls like you don’t usually talk to boys like me. I swallowed, “New York Cliché, remember me?” He looked at me in disbelief, “New York Cliché? No way,” he scoffed. Then he laughed, that cruel way only attractive teenage boys can, “New York Cliché… do you still tell on every one all the time?” There was no friendliness in his voice. I do not recall my reply. I know I managed to refrain from running away to cry in the bathroom. That was the last time I saw or heard from my Elementary School Nemesis until about two months ago.
How did we get from there to actually going on a date? Stay Tuned.