I think we’ve already established that I wasn’t the most popular girl in school, although I desperately wanted to be in the “in” crowd. As a result, I had a love-hate relationship with the mean girls in school. I really wanted them to accept me and let me be a part of their group, but when they didn’t (and more often than not, they would proclaim this publicly), I was hurt and humiliated and would fight back best I could.
I can’t remember the circumstances behind this particular incident, which took place when I was in 6th grade. Perhaps I didn’t catch a fly ball during kickball, maybe I sat at the wrong table during lunch, or it could have been that I said the wrong thing at the wrong time — but this mean girl (henceforth, she will be called Crazy Cathy) took offense. She said something insulting to me and I decided I had had enough. I bitched back and the war of words ensued. When the bell rang to return to class, we decided to meet on the playground after school for combat.
Naively, I figured this fight was going to be a private matter between Crazy Cathy and myself. However, while the girl was crazy, she was not stupid. She utilized the time in class before the final bell to spread the word and enlist supporters to her cause. When I came down the back steps of the school that day, I was horrified to see nearly the entire class there, as well as some 4th and 5th graders who had heard what was going to happen.
Crazy Cathy and I approached each other warily and the crowd closed in around us. Now, you need to know, I’m not a violent girl (normally) and I had never been in an actual physical fight before. I had no idea how to throw a punch and, at this point, I was feeling extremely intimidated, but I couldn’t back down! I decided it would look good if I made the first move, so I lunged and slapped Crazy Cathy soundly on the cheek. She reared back and said, “It’s going to be like that, huh?” and then she attacked. Crazy Cathy was like some sort of ninja hurricane, coming at me with arms and legs flailing, but doing a remarkably good job of making painful contact. After the first few blows, I attempted to fall back to regroup (OK, more likely to run away), but the onlookers crowded closer together and were like an impenetrable wall. The more I tried to shrink back and avoid the whacks, the more they would push me back into the circle, chortling with glee.
The horrible frustration, anger, and yes, some fear, finally took their toll. I started to cry and Crazy Cathy decided that she was the victor in the smack down. She and her cohorts sauntered away with the occasional disdainful backwards glance. I made my way back into the school with my few supporters and went into the bathroom to check for any permanent damage. When I looked into the mirror, I was amazed! Apparently, all of the crying made my eyes appear a beautiful shade of teal blue and my lashes had clumped together from the tears, giving them a spiky, Twiggy-like look. Granted, the swollen red nose and the snot wiped across my cheek did detract from my new, model like appearance, but jeez, my eyes were fantastic!
I still have beautiful blue eyes when I cry (although the rest of me looks like crap. I will never be a pretty crier) and I’ve learned to avoid physical brawls. However, someday I may run into Crazy Cathy at a class reunion or on the street. I’ve had years to hone my razor-sharp tongue and would love to get in a few lashes. Of course, with my luck, she will be a born again Christian or a sweet granny by then, so she may just have to stay on my “List of people to kill when it becomes legal.” But that is a story for another day