The Rumor

March 17, 2009
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I'd known him since elementary school, but it didn't start until we entered middle. Once it had become clear that the two of us could answer most of the questions in class, someone informed me of a very interesting fact. Apparently, I liked him. To those curious about my reaction, start thinking along the lines of, 'WHAT!?' He was a nice guy, I'll give him that. He clearly had a touch of self-confidence issues, evident in his posture. His friends did what they could to protect him from jokes about his style of clothes (shorts that fell just above the knee, tube socks that rose mid-shin, often paired with hiking boots and a typical choir-boy haircut and attitude). For me, that didn't matter, but there was a huge fatal flaw, he loved baseball'a sport I detest.
And so it went on, three years in total. I faced reminders of this at what felt like a daily basis. The teasing I could handle, but so often it occurred in front of him. Whether or not he liked me'the rumors claimed it to be true, but then again I had to consider my own situation'shouting, 'No, I don't like him, why would I?' as I so desperately wanted to, sounded just cruel. Instead I resigned myself to not uttering a single remark (actually I think that because it always came as a shock, all I was capable of was an odd, guttural, choking sound), which only perpetuated the gossip.

I finally expressed these thoughts and feelings to the person who had initiated the rumor. Goodness knows why, but I have always considered him a close friend; and, miraculously, he stopped. I have not heard him speak another word of it since.

That confrontation didn't matter, as it did nothing to stop what had begun to snowball. Middle school students are harsh; experts in the field of misery. We all know that they lock them up in their own little three-grade school so the rest of us don't have to deal with them. I've heard multiple people claim that they would never, regardless of reward, return to their middle school years. For me, there is one era of my life I'm glad I shan't return to, seventh grade. Seventh grade shall always be known as the year everyone changed, the year of the schism in the classroom' 'East side, West side' as one classmate remarked'and the year in which the teasing escalated.

By eighth grade, it had grown so that it no longer fell into the classification of obnoxious, immature, teasing. It had grown to the point that people had decided it needed to transform into a reality.
I'll never forget the day two friends called me and told me that, should he ask me out, I had to say yes (It would be so perfect!). They claimed that they were 'relationship experts.' I responded with the first thing that came to mind, which, out of respect to them and another involved, I won't use this as a forum to repeat it.

Honestly, I don't know if I reached this stage while in seventh grade or farther on, but I discovered that I had come to a time where I loathed even spending a moment in conversation with the kid in question. I hated every second. It wasn't rational, and it definitely wasn't fair. He deserved the torture even less than I did. Yet, to me, he had come to represent the three years of humiliation and angst that I had endured. Not even for a flicker of a moment did these proposed feelings exist. I doubt they ever would have, though I am sure that the taunting destroyed any and all possibility. In retrospect, it gave me an insight into the true effects of a rumor created without any base of fact.

Since the beginning of high school, he and I have parted ways. I no longer resent him, and can see how he had always acted as a true friend, someone who constantly behaved more maturely than I did. Even this year, I have had people tell me all about what should have evolved (in fact, I heard it Monday). I guess that I've learned to accept it. What else can I do? I have had to resign myself to the prospect that they will learn, possibly the hard way, that grade point average will never prove itself to be any indication of compatibility.





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