(click the link above to start from part one)
As I started Junior High School, things changed. Due to an influx of hormones, and some real mixed messages I received while watching late night re-runs of Benny Hill, I started considering that there could more to girls than just holding hands. Sometimes I have wondered if it would not be better for society if we locked all Junior High boys in a closet until the hormone levels even out. It's such a rough time, and they just don't understand things around them. They smell, their voices are changing, they can't be reasoned with, they are just sort of sub-human for a while. I say this from the experience of having been one, a summer spent as a camp counselor, and several years teaching Sunday School.
The first positive change I remembered in Junior High was that girls started actually being my friends. I hung out with them, ate lunch with them, and learned more of their mysterious ways. I actually found myself on the receiving end of flirting from time to time, but I never figured what was the next step after that and they didn't seem to be explaining it to me. At least I actually felt more comfortable around them, but still came up just short of an actual girlfriend.
There were two strange episodes that stick out in my mind. The first involved a girl named Angela. She was a thin, waif-like creature with short black hair, big dark eyes, and again, had a slight over-bite that fascinated me. She was also very shy and rarely talked to anyone. We hadn't really talked before that, but had some of those longing looks that teen-agers can be so famous for. My dad called that look "making cow eyes".
I remember towards the end of school, we all went on a field trip for science class. We had to collect samples or plants and flowers. We were all walking through some fields that had been left fallow for a couple of years, so there were all kinds of plants. I had already found some yellow wild clover and some burdock, so that would be enough for my assignment, then I saw it. It was a large purple flower that was in between two thistles. I don't know what it was, but it was striking, like something you would buy in a florist shop. I picked it, hid it as best I could and put it in her locker when no one was looking.
She found out it was me, and thanked me sweetly. She gave me her address on the last day of school and asked me to write her during the summer. She lived a little too far away for me to ride my bike. I wrote her five or six times. I got one letter back from her, and it said "I love you.". I was ecstatic. Finally, I had a girlfriend. As soon as school started, I was sure life would be good. When she came back to school in the she was different. She avoided me, and blew me off when I tried to talk to her. I even over heard her telling people about my letters once. She moved away soon after that and I never saw her again.
The second incident was in the eighth grade. There was a girl named Mary in my Junior High, unlike Angela, she was not pretty. She had a bad complexion, greasy hair in some Dorothy Hamill style, a pear shaped figure, big ugly glasses and braces that resembled the grill of a pinto that had been totaled. I realize looks aren't everything, but she was a gossip that was mean and snotty to other people. She bragged about being a Christian, but was not even nice.
How in the world did I get involved with her? Good question. The girls that were my friends and that I ate lunch with asked me if we were an item.
"What do you mean?"
"She's telling everyone she likes you, and that you are going to ask her out."
"Ok..I really haven't talked to her much. I don't know anything about that."
They just grinned and waited until recess to run and gossip with the other girls about this. I went to a very small school, gossip was almost a lettered sport with jackets given out.
So I started thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the prettier she became in my mind, like someone was putting baby oil on the lens of my brain. I thought maybe I had been too hasty. Perhaps it was worth a try. I still had not ever got a kiss, or ever held the hand of a girl. She was a Christian, I was Christian...I decided I would give it a try, even though there was this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine