I had my eye on this cute six-year old named Michael. He was all blond hair and blue eyes. The exact opposite of my faux Latin-ness (I’ve been mistaken for a Latina since the ripe age of four).I had sneaking suspicion I wasn’t supposed to have a crush on anyone who wasn’t a nice Indian boy, but I couldn’t help myself. The fact that he was so different than me was a source of great fascination, and only made him that much more interesting.
Michael had already been sent to the principal two whole times for throwing temper tantrums and breaking all of his Crayola crayons. But I fancied him nonetheless. There was something sexy about his rebellious, carefree attitude. He reminded me of a young James Dean. I even made a point of wearing my day-of-the-week striped underwear on the right day, in case he pulled my dress up like the other boys in class. Obvs by today’s standards this would be a massive no-no, but I was a ho in-the-making and I didn’t want him to think I didn’t know my days of the week. I would always smile at him on the bus ride home, but he usually looked at me like I was some sort of escaped mental patient. But I brushed it aside, figuring he just hadn’t been introduced to my charms yet.
One day after the bus dropped us off, Michael paused to examine a small anthill.
“Hey Michael, what are you doing? Whatever it is, it looks super fun!” I stood there longingly, waiting for his response.
He ignored me as always.
I felt the familiar pangs of rejection course through my heart. I had been harshly rebuffed. Dejected, I kept walking leaving him alone to his ant study. The next thing I knew I heard footsteps running behind me and felt my book bag being ripped off my shoulder. I watched as Michael hurled my bag over the neighbor’s chain link fence which then landed directly in their backyard.
Ohmigod, was he flirting with me? I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited! In response I promptly marched over to him and hit him squarely on the head with my lunchbox.
What came next was a total shock. I thought he was going to pin me up against the fence and go in for some tongue action. Instead, he started crying like a little brat.
WTF? Hadn’t he seen Gone with the Wind? In all those old-school movies I watched when my Grandma came to visit, the woman slaps the man and then he grabs her and starts making out. Maybe it’s part of the generational divide.
After being thoroughly disgusted with Michael’s lame behavior, I walked over to the neighbor’s yard, picked up my bag and stormed home leaving Michael still crying in the same spot. And to think I had almost let this loser cause me to question my powers of seduction!
So my first boy rejected me. Now what? I wondered if I should go to Catholic school instead. Maybe the boys there were a little manlier. Or maybe it was those hot uniforms. So, I decided to quiz my friend Christina who went to Catholic school and happened to live next door.
“What do you think of the boys at your school?” I asked her casually one day. I didn’t want her to know yet of my plans to infiltrate her school.
“They’re cute. But it’s their uniforms that make them sexy.”
“Oh yeah?” I was right. There was something about the uniforms.
Hmm, I had always harbored a secret uniform fetish. It would be years before I could put on a cheerleading uniform. Maybe I should try out a Catholic schoolgirl uniform. And my mom went to Catholic school too so I’m sure she would approve.
You know The Secret? How it became all the rage several years ago? Well I was way into The Secret way before it became famous on Oprah and the whole world got in on the action. The point is my secret-ing powers were so strong, I was going to Catholic school whether I was ready or not.
I had been seriously thinking about switching schools for a while now, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a full time uniform. After all, I still enjoyed picking out my outfits in the morning. And although Mom said I wasn’t ready for high heels yet, I did get to wear my patent leather black Mary Janes every day, something I wouldn’t get to wear to Catholic school.
But the magic of the universe was soon to intervene. When I was getting ready for school one day, I inadvertently put on my red plaid skirt and white turtleneck, without even noticing how much it resembled a Catholic school uniform. I grabbed my lunchbox and made my way to the bus stop. I saw the bus pulling up while I was still a few houses away.
“Oh yikes!” I shrieked. I missed the bus constantly and I was pretty sure mom was going to kill me if I didn’t start making it to the bus in time. So, l started to skip watching my morning cartoons to the end so I could make it to the bus stop. After such a sacrifice, I couldn’t believe I was about to miss it again!
I was huffing and puffing by the time I got onto the bus, but I had done it. I flopped down into a seat and put my backpack on my lap. After I got settled and looked around, I noticed something peculiar. All the girls on the bus were also wearing red plaid skirts and white tops. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t recognize anyone. How odd. What are the chances of everyone wearing the same outfit? I wondered if I had accidentally entered an alternate universe or even worse the fifth dimension. All of a sudden I heard “RESHMA!”
I turned around and saw my friend Christina waving at me.
“What are you doing on my bus?” she asked
“I’m going to school. What are you doing here?”
“You’re going to Catholic school?”
“Huh? Isn’t this the bus to public — Ohhhh.”
I was on the wrong bus! I felt like such an idiot. How the hell was I going to get out of this one? That explained why everyone was wearing the same outfit. The Catholic school bus normally came before the public school bus. I guess the Catholic school bus was running a little behind and for a change I had actually gotten to the bus stop early. This was not how this was supposed to go down.
My plan to go to Catholic school was totally different. After I had spoken to the principal about visiting the school to see if it was a suitable fit, I would arrive on a large white stallion a la Bianca Jagger. Except I would be flanked by naked men.
But alas it was not to be. Now what? My mom was at work and I didn’t know any other grown-ups. I stared at Christina, totally stunned.
“Christina what should I do?”
“My mom can come get you.”
That would have been a good idea. Except for one small problem. Christina’s mom thinks I’m a total biznatch. One day Christina had been in my backyard playing on the swings, when her mom came over to the chain link fence that separated our yards and waved. Her mom was wearing brown polyester pants, a white and beige striped polyester button down, and faux-leather brown loafers. Her hair was in pink rollers (as always) and she had some ugly faux-silk, (notice the faux theme?), handkerchief tied around her head. She wasn’t wearing a stitch of makeup. My guess was that she was 102 years old.
My mom, on the other hand, looked like a soap star complete with fabulous hair and power suit. My mom never failed to leave the house without bright lipstick, deftly applied eyeshadow, and 4-inch pumps, even if she was just getting the mail. So I was staring at Christina’s mom, wondering what the fuck happened to make her think it was OK to look like the way she did when I said:
“Don’t you think your mom is ugly?” As soon as it came out of my unfiltered five-year-old mouth, I regretted it. I never was the most tactful person. I didn’t mean for it sound so…mean. It was merely a truthful aesthetic observation. Honestly if she just slapped on a bit of makeup and got rid of the polyester she’d look perfectly fine.
Christina looked over at her mom. I could see the little wheels turning in her head. She was seriously pondering my inquiry.
“Yeah I think she kind of is. Your mom is much prettier.”
“I know, right?” Phew! At least she agreed with me.
We went back to playing and I thought all was well. That is until the next day when I saw Christina at the fence.
“Hiii!” I screamed as I ran over to the fence.
“Hi. I told my mom last night what you said about her being ugly and she started crying.”
WTF? Why would she tell her mom I said that? I gulped. Shit, I didn’t mean for her mom to start crying! Did I make a grown up cry? My observing that her mom was ugly was no different than observing that I hate beets. Just a mere statement of fact. Unfortunately, most other people didn’t see it that way. I felt like a real shit face.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t think what I said was that bad.”
“Yeah me neither. She’ll get over it.” Christina didn’t seem to care too much.
Phew. Now I didn’t feel so bad. In fact, we remained friends; her mom just never came over to the fence and waved anymore.
The point of this story is that asking Christina’s mom to do me a favor and pick me up from Catholic school and take me to public school was going to be awkward.
But I knew I had to bite the bullet. I didn’t know any other adults, I definitely didn’t have a cool older sibling that could bail me out, and my parents were both at work.
“Um, OK. Sure can you call your mom when we get to the school?” I asked Christina.
I was so nervous the entire time I almost peed myself. What was I going to say? Would she remember what I had said before? Better to pretend nothing had happened.
When we got to Christina’s school, she walked me to the principal’s office where I explained my situation and Christina called her mom.
“OK, well I’m going to class now. We’re learning how Satan shows up in everyday life. See you later.” With that, Christina was off.
After what seemed like an eternity, Christina’s mom walked into the office.
“Hi Mrs. Crab Apple.” I shouted excitedly. I was grinning at her like a fucking hyena in hopes that she would see what a warm, sweet child I was.
“Come on” she said irritably. I guess she wasn’t too fooled by my fake chirpiness.
We sat in the car in stony silence. I decided I had to break the ice somehow.
“You look pretty today.” Yeah right. She looked like shit on a stick as always. In fact, if she was so upset by my previous remarks, I don’t understand why she didn’t do something to change her appearance. Like wear some lipstick for Christ’s sake. I’m sure Jesus would have appreciated it.
“I know what you said to Christina. You don’t have to bother.”
I sat there meekly, not knowing what to say.
“God will punish you for your sins. What you say to me or others has no bearing on me only you. Sinners go to hell.”
That was the second time a Catholic told me I was going to hell. First my aunt Selma (who knows why) and now this chick. And this was all before the age of six. I hadn’t even had sex or done drugs yet. I thought it was funny that both Selma and Mrs. Crab Apple  thought they were exempt from going to hell. Besides, she should seriously cut me some slack on account of my age.
And what was up with all this hell crap? I knew I was going to be reincarnated. I prayed to Krishna every night that I would come back as someone fabulous like Madonna or the supermodel Gia Carangi.
“Actually I’m going to be reincarnated so I’m not worried about it. But thanks for the 411.” At that point we had reached my elementary school.
“Bye, thanks for the ride.” I hopped out thoroughly relieved to be at regular old public school. The boys might be pussies, but at least I didn’t have to listen to that hell B.S. all day. I figured my parents and their Indian friends would make me feel inadequate for years to come, so the last thing I needed was to add Catholic school and that whole guilt trip into the mix.
So much for that plan. I guess I’ll have to make my Bianca Jagger entrance another time.
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