It's a true story.
Some Memories are a Bitch
There are certain days in my life that make it okay for the entire world to revolve around me. One of which was my 8th grade graduation. On this day, I was supposed to feel beautiful in my dress. I was supposed to be excited for summer and the presents I was going to get when I got home. I was supposed to be nervous for high school and what happens next. This day was supposed to be my special day. It all began to go down on a Monday morning in June of 2009. It was the last week of school. I was super sick with a fever, the flu and of course a woman’s best friend on top of it. My graduating class was going to Six Flags. I didn’t want to go. Although, I had already paid for it; I pretty much had no choice at that point. First thing, we took a class photo in the gym. I was so pale and sick looking, that I looked like a ghost. After the picture, we were off to Six Flags. Only an hour and a half of being at six flags, my dad was called and had to pick me up because I felt so bad. All I wanted to do was go home and go back to bed. The next day, Tuesday, we had graduation practice. This was all around the same time as the swine flu, when it was really bad. We weren't allowed to shake our teachers’ hands or do anything of that nature because of it. Everyone at school was sick, and quite a few kids didn’t even show up. But the next day, Wednesday, was the big day...graduation, the day it all actually went down. The graduation ceremony was held at Maine South High School, in the Spec Gym. There were about 275 kids graduating . Each kid had around 8 family members and friends with them. The gym was full. Keep in mind, it was June, on a hot summer day, with 1,375 people at the least, in a small, contained gym. Like any other graduation or award ceremony, the students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas one by one. Then principal of my school, Lincoln Middle School, James Blouch, gave quite an inspirational speech. He talked about how the students had been so successful this far and how they had to keep up the good work. The most important part he talked about was the support of the children's’ families. They need to be there for every choice their kids’ make and how this day was about the students, not them. “Even though you may feel like going crazy on me, please treat me with respect and love. Remember, you are the adult, and I am still learning, growing and trying to be an adult in an adolescent body,” the words of Mr. James Blouch, directed to the parents in the audience. But the part that hit me the most and the words I will remember the longest, was when he said, “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, for it can become your destiny. Never, ever, ever cease to wonder. Never, ever, ever cease to stop learning.” After the speech was over, all the students and their families were all let out into the Spec Gym Lobby to find each other. Most of the people just walked around with their head up their ass. There were people pushing and shoving and tripping over other people; it was chaos. I tired find my family for hours, with no success. I had finally wandered around long enough and I found Damon, my uncle, my mom's brother. He kept trying to force me to take pictures with my friends inside. I had to keep repeating myself that I needed to get outside because it was too hot and I wasn't feeling good and I didn't want to pass out. But for some odd reason, he couldn't get that thought through his head. It took forever to just get him close to the door. Once we finally managed to get outside, I tried looking for the rest of the family. He said that the family had decided to all meet at this one particular fire hydrant that was right outside of the gym doors. However, no one was there and Damon just kept asking and asking about the pictures and wouldn’t stop. Finally, I was like, “No Damon, I am not taking pictures,” and I stood up for myself. He had gotten super mad that I put him in his place, but then, my 45 year old uncle blurted out, “Well you're being a little b**** about it aren't you?” At this moment in time, I completely froze. I felt like all the blood in my body just stopped moving, like it froze. My 13 year old self was in complete shock that my uncle, one of the people who are supposed to care for me and be there for me, just called me a b****. My first instinct was to say, “If you’re going to be a jerk Damon then leave!” So he just left like I told him to, leaving me hanging by myself for another couple hours trying to find the rest of my family. I ran back and forth from the car to the gym to the bathroom, to everywhere I could possibly think my family would be. After awhile, I just stood by the fire hydrant and cried. I had no idea what to do. I didn't even have my phone on me because I was wearing a dress and had nowhere to put it. Plus I had never been to the school before so I didn't know who to talk to for help. But, the more the cars filed out of the parking lot, the more terrified I got. After the hours of waiting, my dad saw me by the fire hydrant and grabbed my arm and pulled me over to the rest of my family. There was my mom, my sister Rebecca known as Rebe, my mom’s mom known as Darlene, Damon's wife Maggie, a family friend named Barb, and my dad’s mom known as Grandma. I'll never forget the way they were standing. They were in somewhat of a circle shape. I was standing there with my back to the parking lot, Grandma on my left, Darlene on my right, Barb and Maggie in front of me next to each other, Dad was behind me, mom was next to but behind her mother, and my sister was next to my mom. My family clearly knew something was wrong because I was crying, but once I told them what happened they were all in shock. I told them how I didn't feel good, and how Damon kept forcing me to take pictures and then how he called me a b****. Well once I told them what he called me, they all stood there complaining about how he left and how he was forcing me to do something I didn’t want to. The expressions on their faces dropped and got as white as a ghost. Well Grandma was the most pissed off. Her eyes got this glassy, water, heavy, look to them. She was so hurt and disappointed in Damon that you could tell she didn’t know what to say, but what she did say was, “Well Damon sure showing himself to be an asshole, isn't he?” Now this almost gave everyone a heart attack. Grandma never swears, and I mean never. That's not how she was raised; she thinks it’s very disrespectful. Darlene instantly got this pissed off yet terrified look on her face, like she had just witnessed a crime. She gasped for air as she said, “How dare you call my son an asshole! You don’t have the right to call my son names!” My Grandma rebutted back with, “Really? A 60 year old woman doesn’t have the right to say that a 45 year old man was being an asshole by calling my granddaughter names?! So you’re saying that it was ok for him to call Rachel what he did? Clearly you have no remorse for what he did!” The two of them went on arguing, as tears continued to run down my face. My eyes and cheeks were covered with mascara and makeup. I should have thought to wear waterproof makeup, but who would have thought. So anyways, you know how every grandma has a giant purse filled with everything you could possibly need? Well, I tried asking Darlene for a Kleenex because I knew she would have one. She always had everything. But, she just ignored me and kept arguing with Grandma. I asked exactly 6 times for a Kleenex but finally I was annoyed and said, “Shut up! Stop arguing! I need a Kleenex!” Once again this was more of a shock to Darlene as she grabbed her chest like she had just gotten stabbed. She got so upset that she hit me over the head with the flowers she was supposed to give me and said, “Here’s your f*ing flowers,” and she left. Then her and Barb stormed off to their car. Their walk was the typical, ‘I’m mad and everyone is going to know I’m mad by the way I shake my butt’ sort of walk. I just stood there in tears as they walked away and grabbed my dad and gave him the biggest hug ever. Then I took one more sniffle in and let go of my dad and got really angry and said, “Let’s go home. I’m done with this place and I’m done with them!” So, Dad, Mom, Rebe, and I headed home. I slouched back with my feet against the seat in front of me and demanded to listen to music and listen to it loud. A few blocks later, we were home, just as the phone rang showing Damon calling. I yelled, “Don’t answer! Don’t answer!” I knew all he wanted to do was argue some more. My dad answered it anyways. He put all the blame on Dad saying that it was his fault for making me cry and ruining my graduation. Damon said the next time he saw my dad he was going to kick his ass. Dad’s eyebrows raised and he started to chuckle as he sarcastically agreed and hung up the phone. One year later, it was my sister’s graduation. I told Dad, Mom and Rebe that I was going to be the bigger person and not let anything ruin her day. When the cars started to file into the parking lot this time, this was the first time I was seeing my family in exactly a year. I took initiative and walked up to Damon and Darlene and said, “If either of you do anything and I mean ANYTHING to come in contact with Rebecca and ruin her day, our relationship is over. I will not let ANYONE ruin her day like you guys ruined mine. What you guys did to me, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and I will not have my sister have the same memories of her 8th grade graduation like I will. So go in the gym, sit down away from me and away from her, and put a smile on your face and keep it there!” When I walked into the gym, Damon, Darlene, Barb, Maggie, and Mom sat on the floor at the bottom of the bleachers as they argued amongst themselves. I sat with Dad and Grandma up in the bleachers. I sat with my shoulders up, my back straight and a proud smile on my face, as I watched my sister smile as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma.