Megan and me at the leaning tower of Pisa
During the summer before 7th grade, my parents moved us from Salt Lake City to the middle of nowhere. There was nothing but our house and dirt hills, which my parents took as an opportunity to come closer with nature. In the mornings, my dad threw a bag of garbage over his shoulder and walked to the trash can down the street. With only his see-through underwear bottoms on. Whistling as he walked.
To show how angry I was at my parents for making us move, I’d storm out of the house with my dog, Miss Cairo, and find an unfinished house to hide in. I’d sit on wooden boards and play with leftover nails until I thought I’d been there long enough to make my parents frantic. But they were never frantic. “Hi Anne!” They’d say when I walked in hours later. “We’re making cookies! What have you been up to?”
Maybe they’d get frantic if I smoked pot, I thought. Just once. But getting pot meant finding human life, which was non-existent.
I went to orientation at school and the first person I saw was a blonde girl my age wearing khaki short shorts over pink ballet tights, and white high heel flip flops. My mom looked at me, hiding her smile, and I glared at her. It was confirmed. My life was totally ruined.
On the first day of school, Mom walked me to the bus stop. I tried to tell her I was fine on my own, but she said, “It’s okay! I’ll take Cairo with me and we’ll look for running routes.”
I could already see one kid standing at the bus stop. Marcus, the skater dude from church. I had a little crush on him. Not because I thought he was super cute or anything, but when you only have a nutty family, piles of dirt, and one guy in your ward to think about, you have to switch things up.
Cairo seemed to have a bigger bladder this morning as we stopped every minute to let her piss on a tree. It was right at the bus stop when she decided to take her massive morning dump.
Mom was talking to Marcus now about his mom. She kept chatting as she dug for a plastic bag in her jacket and put it over her hand like a glove. She didn’t miss a beat in the conversation while she bent down and grabbed the poop with her hand. It took her a couple of times to get it all in the bag.
“Ooh, this is a stinky one,” she said, examining the poop.
She stood back up and held the see-through Harmon’s bag in her one hand, rocking it back and forth, while holding Cairo’s leash with the other hand.
The bus arrived. “K bye,” I said and dashed onto the bus.
“Bye honey!” She waved at me with the hand holding the poop bag. “Have a wonderful day at school!”
The minute the bus stopped at the school, I bolted out, hiding my face from Marcus, and ran to my first class. I found out ten minutes later that we had the first two periods of English class together. Damn.
At 9:15 I bolted out of English, praying Marcus wouldn’t have the third class with me. He didn’t. But third period was a bigger class and I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know if it was better to not know anybody or know one person who just watched my mom wave shit at me. People were already finding their elementary school friends. I opened my backpack near the door and threw out some random papers, delaying the time I had to find a seat.
Then I heard a wild laugh.
This brown haired girl had her hair pulled back in a pony tail with mini braids. I couldn’t tell what she was talking about with her friends, but she was making silly faces, as if she was re-enacting a scene. Then she’d burst out laughing again.
That’s where I was going to sit. It was done. Sitting next to her! Done.
Her friend first said hello to me.
“Hi, I’m Priscilla.”
“Hi, I’m Anne,” I said, already forgetting the girl’s name. I looked at the laughing girl. “Who are you?”
“I’m Megan,” she said, still getting over her laugh. “Hey.”