Thursday, 18 January 2018

Nine

2017.12.06 overlooked
I went to a small country school
Red Deer Lake
So many people wanted in
It was somewhat ghetto and covered in asbestos
Still all the nouveau riche wanted to join  
It smelled like that Napoleon Dynamite hipster vibe
We were in the boundaries, so were a shoe in
I chose it over Strathcona (nauseous old money)
I was an tomboy and didn’t want to wear a skirt
There were only 32 of us in my year
Mostly close
Wholesome kids (we still cannot believe how damn wholesome we were)
Still some of my best friends today
At the end of the year, we all looked forward to the RDL awards ceremony
Especially year 9
After year 9, we would all split up and go to the city or Okotoks for high school
Everyone looked fabulous that night
Sateen spaghetti strapped nineties gowns
Silver chains and spikey frosted tipped hair
Everyone got an award
Some got two
Some got three
I remember eagerly waiting for my turn
My heart with butterflies every time they called a category I might win
I remember watching friends go passed one by one
At the end of the night
I was embarrassed
Mama by my side
Graciously congratulating my friends and comrades
32 children, 43 some odd awards 
My name, along with two others, were never called
I’d been overlooked
The doors slam shut on the muddy mini van
The sound of seat belt swipes and clicks
The van engine roars
In five minutes, we’re back in the Old Country II (aka the farm or acreage)
We discuss why
I was a music prodigy child. I completed the RCM music program at 14, played almost every instrument and performed countless times
I hold the record (still) for the highest bid at the lunch box social
I played JV volleyball, basketball and won provincial high jump in track and field 
I saved a younger kid from drowning
Bake sale, cake walk, french
My peers loved me
Most of my teachers loved me
I won hot seat 

Then consideration of the dark side crept in
My brother caused a lot of issues at the school
I was the ring leader of the daughters club that was shut down because not all the girls were included
When the boys were cruel to Grace day in day out, Bunny, Ash & I put insulation in the boys pants while they were in gym. 
It was a botched job, we couldn’t match the pants on the change room floor to the owners and we got some of the wrong lads. 
Man those cats were squirming next period in science and band. 
In school suspension and a deep bellowed laugh from the principal years later. 
He said “it was  *** hilarious. Never seen anything like it in all my years of teaching. I know your eyes welled with tears at the time, but I went home and laughed till I cried”
...
I was crying too
I didn’t understand why 
I sat at the kitchen table in the Old Country mansion I called home 
Completely isolated and alone
Another secret for those walls to keep
The tears welled 
Confused contemplation
Out of 32 children, 43 awards and 29 recipients
It was clear 
I wasn’t just overlooked
Born with a silver spoon as opposed to thick skin
These are the moments I look back and relish
The rush
That goddamn pain
Thick humiliation
Unchosen Resilience




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