Memories 9: Tough Girls
Yesterday, I was reviewing with my sister events that occurred in seventh grade that I really ought to cover and I brought up an incident that I thought might be important. She advised me against writing about it because it shows me in a bad light. However, I said to her that one of the reasons that I wanted to write this anonymously was so that I could be honest. If I’m not going to be as honest as possible, why am I writing this at all?
The question, to me, is “Is it relevant to my aims?” Although it may not be obvious at first, I believe it is.
Back to the library where I have now gotten comfortable wandering into the adult section.
The non-fiction books for adults were on a mezzanine level, half a flight up that open staircase, between the main reading area with current best sellers and the checkout desk and the floor with the reference room and fiction.
After arriving at the first landing from the staircase, you found yourself at one end of a floor lined with stacks. On the right, was a railing, separating the mezzanine floor from the open area that included the staircase. Looking over the railing, you could see main floor below and the reference room above. Ranged along the left hand area was row after row of the stacks. Each row dead ended against a wall. Every other row had a tall narrow window at the end, making was always struck me as the most obvious lighting solution for a library that I’m surprised that it hasn’t been used more often. It was evening, however, and the windows were nothing more useful than glossy rectangles of black.
I no longer remember what I was looking for. What I do remember is that the library was not crowded and I was alone on that mezzanine level. I was half way down the row of stacks, about a meter inside a row. I was on my knees trying to find a book that, following the call numbers, was apparently located on the bottom shelf. There I was, kneeling down, looking for a book. Not an unusual position for me, when I think about it.
I felt a hard thud on my ass.
“Look at this little nerd.” I craned my neck and looked over my shoulder and saw three girls, about a year older than I was.
The one who was closest to me kicked me again.
“What a little fucking nerd.”
She kicked me again, this time it was really hard and impossible to ignore. I got up. I was now blocked in by three girls in flannel shirts, tight jeans and feathered haircuts. I can still remember the face of the one closest to me, not the biggest of the three, but by far the loudest, the one who did all the talking. She had dark blond hair. I suspect that it was naturally curly since it had that frizzy quality curly hair had when it was blown out into that Farrah Fawcett feathered hairstyle. She had a wide face, a pug nose and freckles. With a personality transplant, she might have passed for cute. However, the way her thick lips were curled into some demonic expression of hatred was not flattering.
I took a step backward, probably several. That was not the smartest move since the three Gorgons naturally advanced, moving me further into the bowels of the row of books.
“Do you want to get the crap beaten out of you?”
This was apparently not a legitimate question since I was shaking my head furiously to indicate “no”, yet the Gorgons continued to advance.
I panicked. I’d never been in a fight before. I hadn’t a clue what was supposed to happen next. The possibility that the Gorgons intended, for no rational reason that I could determine, to inflict serious pain on was a possibility I had to take very seriously. So I did. I decided it was fight or flight so, flight being removed as an option, I wrapped my hands around what was a surprisingly skinny neck. I began shaking. I can’t be certain that I didn’t squeeze a little.
One of the others, until now nothing but a shadow of the frizzy blond with the skinny neck, said, “Oh my God, she’s going to choke her.”
Why she hadn’t earlier said, “Oh my god, she’s going to kick her,” or any other utterance which would have rendered my choking Medusa entirely unnecessary, is a question no one seemed to care about. However, it was a well-timed statement since choke entered my barely functioning brain and struck me as a bad idea. I moved my hands apart, effective letting go of my catch. The three Gorgons ran out of the library.
“The three Gorgons ran out of the library…” – it is good, not to be defenseless …