Imagine.  You’re the new girl at school, first week of school.  8th grade.  Still desperately searching for a face you know when you get there in the mornings among the sea of junior high-ers.


There is a small group whose acquaintance I have made.  They have in no way made their decision on whether I may be seen with them.  One, the slightly more acerbic of the three, is showing the other two an ink pen on which is inscribed, “This pen was stolen from __________ ‘s Clothing Store.”  They all laugh.

I decide this is a good time to insert some wry humor, show them I can keep up.  I had just been at that particular store with my mom and though we bought a couple of things, it wasn’t “our kind of store.”  Seemed aimed at older women.  Seemed aimed at women with much bigger pocketbooks than my mom’s.

I take a breath to pace myself.  Here goes, I attempt to be low-key and nonchalant, as though I am not trying to be funny, but I know they are going to be impressed.  They giggle over the pen’s words, “This pen was stolen from __________’s Clothing Store,”  was still hanging in the air when I said,

“Well, you’d have to steal it.  Everything there is so expensive.”

That was it.  That was my profound oh-this-is-going-to-impress-them statement.  That was the best I had.  And I can truly tell you I  understand what a millisecond is because that is about how long it took for me to understand I had just said the worst, most awful, most insulting thing in the world.  I didn’t know why what I had said was so wrong, but I knew it was.

One of the girls said, of the girl holding the pen, “Meet Susie (not her real name) ___________.”  And you guessed it: it was her family’s store.

The other girl said, as they moved away from me, “Well, that was awkward.”

I stand alone near the vending machines with my wry humor  in the sea of junior high-ers, surrounded by, engulfed in awkwardness.


NOTE:  Two of those girls ended up being great friends later and didn’t even remember that incident when I got the courage to ask them.  But the girl with the pen never, ever looked my way again, never had anything to do with me.  And now that I am not in 8th grade and not so self-focused about that moment, I can see I truly embarrassed her, hurt her feelings, and I am truly sorry for that.  The pen really was cute.

4 thoughts on “Awkward

  1. I absolutely do not miss those awkward years at all. I am SO glad to call them MY PAST. It does help to have been there, though, when one of my own comes home with tear-stained cheeks, herself a victim of that awkward world.

  2. Even if I knew what I know now AND I was paid a HUGE sum of money, I would NOT go back to junior high or high school!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *