I was an awkward child, all pudge and no curves. Brown hair that was far too thin to stay in a ponytail holder (and far too stringy to leave down), coke-bottle glasses, buck-teeth and an unfortunate habit of stuttering. I was, quite simply, a misfit.
Oh yea - lemme tell you. Had to beat the boys away with a stick.
Anyways, the term "awkward" didn't even begin to describe me. I was even once given an award by a teacher for blowing my nose the most.
Yea. Thanks Mrs. Leonard. Really. I can't tell you how much that endeared me to my fellow classmates. Nothing says "awesome" like a gratuitous nose-blowing award.
So anyways, there I was at the tender age of fifteen, with one friend in the whole wide world.
She was loud, brash, and opinionated. She never stuttered, and I remember being in awe of her as she poured Jimmy Matlock's soda down his shirt during lunch.
He had been depositing his trash in front of me to throw away - like I was his servant. Louise took offense, and did what I was too scared to do - stand up and tell him to knock it off. Of course, she was one to do it by extremes, and I distinctly remember giggling all day as he walked around with bright orange soda staining his shirt. He never dumped his trash in front of me again.
She was the ying to my yang. We were complete opposites in personality, but despite that we somehow seemed to get along.
We were also born (almost exactly) twelve hours apart. Freaky, I know. She at 11:45 in the morning, me at 11:45 at night. And so we shared a birthday.
Anyways, I remember my dad dropping me off at Louise's house - she promised it would be a birthday I would never forget. I rolled my eyes when she said this - I was expecting some contraband alcohol, or some R rated videos.
Instead I got a seance.
We spent the night playing with an Ouija board - me, her, and
Even at fifteen, I thought it was a stupid idea. When asked why she chose three in the morning, she explained that three o'clock was the devil's hour.
However, Louise was not to be dissuaded (Jorge really didn't seem to give a flying flip), and so at three o'clock we bundled up some blankets, grabbed a crucifix and candle, and made our way to the cemetery. The old, non-named cemetery. It only had about twenty graves, and the majority of those were sunken in and falling apart.
So we set down our blanket, put the candle in-between the three of us, and Louise started chanting. Me and Jorge held the crucifix - I recall that his hands were shaking somewhat, and I even caught him saying a few "Our Father"s under his breath.
I also recall that my ass? Yea, it was freezing.
So after about thirty minutes of waiting for the spirits to intervene, Louise decided that she had had enough. Of course she could never say this to us, so she simply stated that she saw ghosts moving in the shadows.
Yea. Sure. I rolled my eyes, blew out the candle, and started hiking back to the house.
I also slept like a baby - which is more than I can say for poor Jorge (he was, apparently, very superstitious).
But y'know what? Even though it sucked beyond measure, and even though I caught a cold the next day and even though now I wince at the disregard to the little things like ethics and human dignity...
it was indeed a birthday I never forgot.