Melissa: my middle school savior

It’s Blogapalooz-hour again! The ChicagoNow bloggers are asked to get off their sweet haunches and write a post in an hour about an assigned topic. Tonight’s topic is this tear-jerker: “Write about a friend or acquaintance from your childhood with whom you’ve lost touch.” I’m about to lay it all out here, below. Enjoy!
I’m still kind of convinced my parents hated me when I was thirteen. I can look back on this year of my life with my adult eyes now and understand that I went to three different schools in 8th grade because of my dad’s job, and that he was moving our family around for the better. I really can. But, there’s still a part of me that’s convinced that they hated me and deliberately tortured me by moving me from school to school. It’s the tiny, scared thirteen year old me that sees it this way. If you know a thirteen year old at all, you know they are shit to reason with, so, there’s no use. The little fractured thirteen year old I carry around with me still clams up in certain social situation. She still causes me to fall back and watch the social interactions between others, figuring out who can be friend and who might be foe.

I was nothin’ but a terrified teen when I walked into my new school. I already knew the deal; I would only be there for a few months before my parents officially bought a house in Illinois. Our house in Connecticut had sold quickly, and we were living in an apartment while my parents house-hunted. My parents had to enroll me, even though we knew this wasn’t my future school. My parents had to enroll me, but I didn’t have to be cooperative. I vowed to wear all black and refused to speak to anyone (an impossible undertaking). I was a good kid, and this is all I could muster in the rebellion department.

Shrouded in black and sworn to an oath of silence, I sat in my first class, Language Arts. Naturally, I had to have some happy-go-lucky young teacher who was all kinds of kind to me. I broke my self imposed silence and introduced myself to the class. I hated this. I hated him-at least, for a day or so. It was in this class that I met Melissa.
Melissa would be my middle school savior. She would be my bus buddy, my classroom partner, and my lunch time haven. She made my first day less terrifying. She worked to introduce me to a few other kids. She invited me over to hang out. She had her friends invite me over to sleep at their houses. She, for all intensive purposes, had my back. The chick was so good at her job; she got me to cry and beg my parents NOT to move me away from this just-for-a-quick-stay school. She was a friend, and I cried dearly when I lost her.

I finished my 8th grade year at a new school and never found a Melissa there. Later, I would start high school and find my best friend/bus buddy/safe haven, but not as I struggled through my last few days of middle school. Melissa and I kept in touch through the summer (with LETTERS!) but lost each other in the high school bustle.

She’s on Facebook. I know she’s there, but I’ve never contacted her. I’m worried she won’t remember me. I’m very sure she’s a wonderful person. I’m even pretty sure she would appreciate hearing what an impact she had on me, but, I can’t bring myself to say hello. I don’t know if the thirteen year old in me doesn’t want to remember that time in my life again, or if I’m genuinely afraid of changing her memory by knowing her now.

I should just get over myself, huh? Easier said than done, muchachos. But, for whatever it’s worth, she’s got a blog devoted to her, and maybe, just maybe she’ll read it one day.

So, I’ll leave her with this: Melissa, thank you for being a friend when I needed one the most.
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