And no, I wasn’t shy. When I looked in a mirror, I saw someone acceptable. When I walked down the halls of the high school I was expected to attend, the reaction I got was that I was not acceptable. Noises, hoots and hollers, volleys of spitballs. On a good day it only happened a half dozen times. I became…gun shy. Relatives asked me if I had a boyfriend. I guess that was important. I had an uncle who was very proud of his daughters. They dated football heroes. One ended up marrying a coach. A football star and wrestler took to picking on me between classes. He and his friends would gather in the stairwell and torment me as I walked to social studies class. My only hope was that I could follow a teacher up the hall and then they were less bold. I did complain once to my parents, but they reacted so badly, wondering what was wrong with me, what I could do to improve myself, that I never mentioned my situation again. One day, I took a squirt gun to school and I aimed it at the football hero, got in trouble, got my squirtgun confiscated. He was a year older than I was, or maybe two, and I was grateful when he graduated. For years I would look at his photo in the annual, and a chill went through me. I thought he looked like a gorilla.
Fast forward thirty, forty years. I’m on a social network called Facebook. One day I search in my hometown’s section and there he is. I add him as a friend. What I am going to do is unclear to me, but I have an impulse to make him aware that I do remember him. Usually when I add someone as a friend and they don’t know who I am since I use an alias, the action remains pending for weeks and months. Not so this time. Within 24 hours he has removed me, clicked Ignore on my request to be added as his friend. I post something on Facebook to the effect that he is still an asshole, after all these years.
I might add, he still looks like a gorilla. An old gorilla.