sunday Afternoon

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Here I sit, Indian style on the hood of my dented car, waiting outside the mini-mart for the guy to come out whose parked car I backed into so I can give him my insurance information. On any other day I would just leave a note with my number and the word sorry and about ten exclamation points but today is Sunday, and I just got out of church where we talked about civility and what makes a person mature, and even though I’m the least confrontational person in the world, I know I have to sit here and wait for the guy who’s car this is. Maybe I should do my homework; I left my book bag in the car anyway. I always pack my book bag full of all the homework I have to do that night, and then when I get home I’m just like, “forget it, I’ll just do it in study hall tomorrow.”

That would be a sight, though, a kid sitting Indian style on the roof of his car in the parking lot of a mini-mart doing History homework. I wonder what the guy who’s car it is would think, either that I’m responsible, for A) waiting, and B) doing my homework, or he’ll think I’m irresponsible, for A) hitting his car and B) putting off my homework until now. I would say I don’t care what he thinks, but if that was true, why would I be waiting for him?

Oh my gosh, there goes John Fletcher. I wonder what he’s doing at a mini-mart on a Sunday afternoon. I hope he doesn’t see me; maybe I should crawl back into my car. No. I can honestly say his opinion I don’t care about. I have always hated John Fletcher. I met him in seventh grade when we were in homeroom together, our last names started with the same letter so we got put in the same homeroom, along with all the other F’s. I can’t say why I hated him, or rather, I don’t want to say why I hated him.

When I really think about it I realize that he hasn’t ever done anything to me at all. Since seventh grade he’s been the funny one. Everyone always laughed at everything he said. I, on the other hand, was pretty much a loser; if people weren’t thinking about that they weren’t thinking about me at all. I don’t remember him talking to me or about me, though.

But in seventh grade we had health class together, and the health teacher didn’t make us sit in any particular seat, we could go wherever we wanted. One day all of the seats were taken so I had to sit beside Mark, who was John’s best friend. I don’t know what Mark’s deal was, but he was like, “You can’t sit there,” and I was like, “Well, there’s no other seats so…” but he said, “No, you can’t sit there.” I don’t remember what happened next, but I ended up sitting somewhere else. Ever since then I just figured, Mark’s rude, John’s probably rude too. Even though I never spoke to him.

I never did publicly hate him. He was always in the advanced classes that I wasn’t good enough to get into (I told myself I didn’t want to be in them anyways), so our paths rarely crossed, except in homeroom. When I was in Junior high I got hip with this whole “do your own thing, be your own person” jazz, and to me, John Fletcher was the picture of conformity and coolness, so I decided that I wanted to be anything but what he was.

He got all the parts in the play, too. That’s what made me mad the most. I always thought, I want to be the artistic creative one; you’re supposed to be the left-brain football player now get off the stage and back on the field where you belong. But of course, everybody loved him in the play. I was too scared to try out.

I’m a senior now, and he’s in my homeroom, as usual. I tried not to let him bother me this year. I took a drama class; I didn’t think that he would be in it too, but he was. On the first day we played one of those, “get to know you games” which I secretly like, and in this particular one, the idea was to pose in a position that represents your personality. I can’t honestly remember mine, or his, or anybody else’s, for that matter, but there is one thing I remember for sure. One of the girls on the other side of the room did a pose, and the teacher asked us what could doing that pose represent about her personality. I wish I could remember what the comment I made was, but I truly can’t. All I know is that it was something John thought was funny and that it was loud enough for him to hear. When John laughed at something I said, I felt a feeling I never had before. I guess you could call it hope, hope that since I said something that made him laugh that maybe now he and I are going to be friends, or at least acquaintances, and that meant that maybe I was on the same level as him. But in reality what it meant was that this was a person whose justification meant more to me than my own. And that’s not a nice thing to realize, but at the same time I became lucid to the fact that I had hated him because I thought he was better than me.

Wow, it’s been five years and I’ve hated him this whole time for a stupid reason. Now that I realized how stupid I had been about the whole thing, I wonder, have I become the person I wanted to be since I was in seventh grade? I don’t guess I did. But I’m not sad or depressed about it. I know I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes and acted superficial in many instances, but I have to say I’m not disappointed with the way I’ve turned out. I’m not perfect, but I would never wish to be perfect, as boring as perfection really is. I’m content just to sit Indian style on the hood of my car and wait patiently for the guy whose parked car I backed into and wallow in my imperfections. The biggest one of all, that even though I know I don’t have to hate John Fletcher anymore, I still kind of want to.





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