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They Where My Boyz
“You want to explain to me how this happened?”
That’s my dad’s go to Lecture line. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever heard him say. It’s not because he says it while sitting in his Laz-E-Boy, laptop half closed, like you’ve just interrupted him and somehow that made everything worse. It’s not because he gets his lemon-juice face (which I unfortunately inherited), the one he uses when doing bills. No, it’s because my dad usually quotes some movie, or TV show, or person, or song, or SOMETHING in every conversation. That statement is NOT a quote.
“You want to explain to me how this happened” basically confirms that you are in trouble. In my house there are four levels of trouble: You Messed Up, in which a sibling tells you everything you did wrong in the most annoyingly possible way, which is responded to with “Whatever, Mr(s). Perfect.” Next is You Are Screwed, in which you do something to gain the attention of Mom, and she speaks in her scary ‘I can take you out’ voice and then grounds you without using the word ‘grounding’. After that is “You’ll Never Guess”, which is how the conversation starts. ‘You’ll never guess what ____ did today.’ If you are not mentioned in this sentence you leave the room, fast, because chances are things will get loud. Finally is the top floor, the Presidential Suite, the piece de la resistance, the “You Wanna Explain”. We’re talking full on interview with judicial hearings and jury votes, and an ending sentence of ultimate proportions.
I figure that’s how I should start this, by answering the question. “You want to explain how this happened?”
Yes, yes I do.
I could say the same, abbreviated version I told them during my hearing, but most of my siblings new I was leaving stuff out. My MOM knew I was leaving stuff out. I don’t get to know what happens when the Jury votes, or what happens in the judge’s office. But I know ways to find out.
That’s later in my story, though. For now, we’re going to start at the very, very beginning.
The boy who lived next door to us on Quail Trial was named Bryce. He was just in between my age (I’m eldest) and Tony’s age (he’s second)(my mom was pregnant with Lucy.) Bryce and Tony spoke their own language. Literally. My mom swears I came out of the womb talking and reading, but not Tony. He didn’t speak comprehensible English until first grade.
This was my first interaction with an unrelated species of opposite gender that I can remember: I slugged him. Right hook to his cheek. Not clean, and the first time I punched someone.
All he did was go down the stairs before me.
I was a demon child. My mom says I never slept, and I used to do somersaults all through her pregnancy. People would watch. My most noted claim to fame as demon child goes to the “No music, Pacifier broke” incident. I threw a tantrum at my grandparents because their radio (really old 60s model) wouldn’t work. I chucked my pacifier out into the hall and then yelled for mom to bring it back. She told me I’d broken it (LIE!) because she thought I didn’t deserve it. Apparently I sat there the rest of the night, looking at the radio and repeating, over and over, “No music, Pacifier broke.” This is now the family code for something’s wrong.
My second claim to terror is the time I threw a tantrum about taking a nap. Mom locked me in my room and held the door closed. Apparently I went crazy and threw all my clothes out of the dresser drawers, all my stuffed animals around the room, stripped the sheets from my bed, threw the books. It was Hurricane Maggie. There’s video proof of the aftermath.
And finally is the coup de grace, in which my personality is truly captured: I grabbed the cookie box of Oreos, made Tony sit with me in our toy room/office and lick out the centers, then put the cookie back. And when Mom found the cookies, I blamed Tony. He couldn’t deny he hadn’t done it. It was genius.
Of course, no one doubted it was me. But whatever.
I was a super geek in elementary school. Kids went around saying “Maggie’s so smart.” In kindergarten, instead of napping I did math worksheets. When I did all her math worksheets, they let me go down to the library and read with the fourth graders.
In second grade I was the official computer guru. I helped my teacher with anything he needed, and I was chosen to be pictured with him in an article for a teacher magazine about technology in the classroom. One of the fourth grade teachers (who had a crush on him) asked me to autograph it. It was my first autograph.
My first crush was shared by three boys, since I was obsessed with each of them equally and for the same period of time, all of fourth grade, and all of fifth. Mason, Max and Luke. They were the elite of our grade.
Middle school. Can’t believe we’re there already, can you? Well, mi familia, I honestly blanked out most of elementary school.
Here’s where things change. You’ll start seeing stuff you never knew, any of you. I’m coming clean. It’s all true, it’s all here. Everything I thought I’d say but never did.
Sixth grade I was reinventing myself. I looked at my friends (girly girly oh-my-god-he-looked-at-me) and decided I’d rather be friends with band guys. It helped I was on medication at the time.
Sally, you were just a couple months old, and you were the only one I ever told this next part to. And you probably don’t even remember.
Jason was a mole. I see that now. But I was young and foolish and all I knew was he was popular with the girls I ate lunch with. I happened to sit across from him in class. And then one day, Tory came up to me. Tory? You ask. Why is she important?
Exactly. Why Tory? Because Jason asked Olivia to ask Isabel to ask Sara to ask Tory to ask me if I wanted to go out with him.
Isabel was my only friend who’d ever ‘gone out’ with anyone. She and Tom didn’t talk to each other. She broke it off after 2 weeks of silence with a note in his locker. I didn’t like what I saw as my example of dating, and I didn’t like how that appeared to be what was happening to me. So I told Tory I’d tell HIM my answer.
And then chickened out and never talked to him again. Nothing. I hoped that he’d think one of them didn’t pass on the message, but I never knew what he knew.
So I made a promise to myself: I wouldn’t date in middle school. All my friends said I was so smart. Dating was so stupid when you couldn’t go anywhere.
None of us could see very far into the future, obviously.
Rachel continued her infatuation with Evan. Any conversation involved him, and she did stupid things to get his attention, like yell ‘HONEYBUNS!!... are the best food ever’ or something. It was stupid. I hated how we always talked about boys – but never talked TO boys.
Tony (not my brother) was the first to talk to my face. He just showed up at my locker one day. I considered him my friend. Noah started doing the same thing.
I noticed the people they hung out with – the only co-ed group in our lunchroom. I wanted that.
Officially I moved in seventh grade to their social group. I was different from the girls they were used to –tomboys. I’m not. I’m not fru fru tu tu, but I do makeup, I like to look good, I don’t do sports, blah blah. I was a new species.
That’s what I kept telling myself. I was new. They weren’t used to it. The boys were just confused. After a while it would wear off.
What’s ‘it’? ‘It’ would be the freak crushes they all got hit with. And I mean all. It was almost amusing, how they’d tease each other. But it was hard too. The girls teased me about it – jealousy a small part, I’m sure – and it was nearly impossible to walk down a hallway holding a conversation because they’d all try to talk to me at once.
Yes, Melody, I see you over there. Your fake gagging yourself, right? I know you hate girls like that. I used to think I did too. It wasn’t till I was writing this that I realized I had become my own nightmare.
The ‘jocks’ – sorry Jessie, but I have to use stereotypes for this to make sense – started to hang around me a lot too. I think part of it was the whole dog pack thing, trying to figure out why I was special. But I liked to tell myself I was special, that I’d escaped their level two land for the lobby and I was more popular there, and now that I wasn’t just another one of those girls they really saw me. I’m not sure what they saw. I don’t know if I was just amusement – know, I do know I was just amusement, to keep them entertained for a while. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. Actually, this pretty much made me feel better, like I knew what I was doing, escaping – that. The point is I always had a crowd, people to talk to of both sexes (Joey stop giggling). I felt on my a game.
The only friend I knew who dated was Logan, who dated a girl a grade ahead and a girl in our grade. He became known as a player, FYI, and Charlie, I do not appreciate the idolization.
Well, Haylee dated Levi. But that was only a week, via texting mostly, and it turned out it had been a dare in the first place. And that Christina had known.
Melody, Lucy and Tony are probably the only ones who really remember this. I used to go bike riding with the guys to ice cream joints (yeah, I just said that). One boy in particular paid special attention to me. Brian. Brian was smart, and he was nice to me, in a geeky way. He was always serious, even when joking, but in the midst of the chaos I’d thrown myself into it was nice, a comfort. Brian invited me over to watch movies; he was the one who called about the ice cream. We were always with the other guys, even just one or two. And then. He wanted me to help babysit his siblings. It involved them staying upstairs and us watching a movie. This was the first time I held a boys hand. Nothing more. Sorry, I just had to gag a bit. Because those first, oh, four hours, I felt good. I was happy. But I don’t actually remember those feelings anymore. Eighth grade started and now I was a bit worn out with all the attention. ALL THE TIME. How b****y do I sound? Charlie, this is why I told you you pay a price to be at the top. I was wary of Brian. And now the girls saw me as their fountain of youth – if they were with me the guys were with them, and I wasn’t one to turn my girls away. Carrie, if the only thing I hope you ever get from me I hope it’s your sense of friendship. I never believed in manipulation, lying, cheating, silent treatments, none of that stuff that Lucy so loves. Not to my friends. Just kidding, Lucy (Not really). I was there for them through thick and thin and fights and fun, whenever they wanted me and gone when they didn’t. And sometimes they forgot I was there. It hurt, but I wasn’t paying attention when it first started happening. I was busy with Ben. Not like that. Ben wasn’t well liked, and I never understood why. Sure, half the time the stuff that comes out of his mouth is complete ... stuff, but you compare it to anything coming out of anyone else’s mouth and it was the same. So I made an effort to be nice to him. I scolded him and taught him how to treat people so they’d stop hating him. And it worked, a little to well. Because he started becoming the center, and I started sliding out. It sounds bad, but I liked my throne, I just liked it quiet. Jacob – JACOB of all people – got a girlfriend from some other school. I never met her but she isn’t really important. What is important was the bet. The Bet was what shook me sideways. Because it came down to this: If Jacobs relationship lasted a month, five boys were signed up to ask me out. And I was nervous. She dumped him three days before the deadline. Meanwhile, Jack was asking out Emma repeatedly (yes, Charlie, that Emma) (No, Joey, she will never babysit again. I apologize). The same five boys decided to mess with her and each ask her out one after the other, day after day, a straight week. I told them not to with some persuasive language and finally by just swearing the hell out of them. I am Momma’s girl. I advise all of you – Melody, Lucy, Jessie, Carrie – to find your inner Momma. Because she is a handy b***h to have on your side when necessary. BUT ONLY WHEN NECESSARY. I met up with a group of them for a haunted house. Mom, I never told you this. I never told any of you this, none of you. I was embarrassed about how I handled it, I was confused on who I was becoming, who others were, and as time passed it seemed easier to shove it away. But I couldn’t, it just kept coming back to haunt my future. It was an hour-long wait, outside, in the cold. We group huddled to try and get Logan (the player) warm, because he was the only one without a sweatshirt. So Logan and I huddled to keep warm. And Brian offered to trade his sweatshirt for me. That’s how he said it. To Logan. “I’ll trade my sweatshirt for Maggie.” It’s different then “I’ll trade my sister for a puppy.” I mean, a puppy is a puppy. A sweatshirt is an inanimate object. I am not an inanimate object. But I acted like one. I didn’t say “WTF Brian??” I didn’t yell at him, I simply let Logan say no. For the next hour. And once we got inside, I didn’t even concentrate on the open house, because Brian would not leave me alone. I speed walked through that thing like no one’s business. He was constantly trying to put his arm around me. That’s all. Nothing more serious. Logan had done it outside for an hour. But it felt wrong. Just wrong. But once again, I didn’t say anything. No “Stop”. Nothing. All those freaking guidance classes and I couldn’t say Stop. Not even No, which I’ve been saying since I was BORN. That’s why I didn’t tell you, I think, Mom. I was embarrassed. And every time you mentioned Brian after that – and it’s surprising how often you did that, I could count on it daily – the event fell deeper into silence. I told myself next time I would speak up. But I don’t want a next time. After this I made a point to stay clear of Brian. I sat next to Ben at lunch, my guaranteed safe seat. We got a lot of crap about it, but I was nice to Ben, and he was nice to me, and that’s all that mattered. Christina started dating Sam. The guys dubbed him “The One-Ball Wonder”. Bike accident, he said. No one was checking. But people would go up to her and be like “You know he only has one...” I didn’t understand this. Why should she care? I mean I hate the dude besides that, but its not like she’s doing it with him. They’re not going to have kids. They’re not getting married. Why should she care? On top of the Brian fiasco it solidified my no dating rule.
The night of Dance Marathon Haylee, Christina, and Myah and I had a sleepover. Truth or Dare, my first time. I learned Haylee and Christina both really, really like Ben. Christina likes Nick too, but less then Ben.
And it hurt. I didn’t think I liked Ben like that, and I didn’t think he liked me like that, but Mom kept calling him my Ducky, and there was that defense instinct that had just ignited in my brain.
But I didn’t say anything. Because I do chicks before ... boys. And I believe in that.
Jazmyn became really close friends with a badboy. She started flowing to the punk rock drum. They had
I got my cell – whoo! – but this enabled my next sad story. Be glad you all don’t get yours until your 14. It saves you from stories like mine.
Nick and I were texting blah blah, New Years Eve, and he asks me out.
I’m like um.... no.
He says he’s not joking.
I say I’ll have to ask my girls. No details.
Myah texts the next day. Jacob texts the next day. They both say Nick was joking. I say thanks and then I feel stupid for not seeing it.
Then the NEXT day they text again and say he WASN’T. Myah tells Haylee who tells Christina who calls me. She says she’d be okay with it. I’m not liking the mojo I get from the situation. I text Nick my answer is no, staying no, won’t change. I get some sad faces back, blah blah.
But school was awkward. Everyone was talking about it, and I felt foolish. Eventually it got a little better, but that didn’t matter. I found my real friends, and it turned out it was the same people who had befriended me before I ate lunch with them. Noah and Tony. Nothing changed with them.
And Ben. Ben was always there for me. He wanted to hear what happened from me, the only one who did. And he didn’t say anything about it, just acted as if everything was normal. But it wasn’t.
Christina and Haylee where isolating Myah, Emma and me. I was used to it by now, but Myah hit it hard. All my energy went into making her feel good. I was used and abused and tired.
Christina and Haylee started to flirt, hardcore. The guys didn't need me for that purpose anymore - those two were pretty good ego boosters. Myah and I just - were there. Even Myah got more attention then me most days. Haylee got asked by Tony (not my brother). Apparently forgetting her encyclopedia thick reason why she loved Nick, she said yes. Christina was stalking Ben, and it made me sick and upset to watch, but I did nothing about it. So when Nick approached me again, I said yes. That's right Mom, Davenport weekend we were, technically, dating. And I sat with Ben anyways. "Sat" is a polite term. We cuddled more then any couple officially dating did. Ben and I always did. Nick's situation was stupid. I did it to get some girls who were thinking they had all the time in the world to move their butts, he did it in hopes of more popularity. It just hurt both of us, and I broke it off after 48 hours exactly, at a table at the Valentines Dinner at St. Pius, right before I danced with an old couple who gave me a $10 tip. My life went on. And four days later was Ben's birthday. He asked me that morning, in the school's chapel closet for the vestments. I immediately said yes. It felt right. Everything with Ben always did. Truly, we were perfect together. He acted the way I was deep inside, and I acted the way he was deep inside. We balanced. As if by magic - or insult - the next day FOUR guys in our group had a girlfriend. And Mom, you gave me the biggest lecture on hurting Brian's feelings. It made me sick to listen to. I only told you part of it, to get you off my back. I told you he got mad, and you said he had a right, I'd just stomped all over his heart. My point has always been, he HAS NO CLAIM TO ME. No reason to be possessive. I wasn't his to control. His want to scared me. Ben, he could control me, but it never felt like he was taking my freedom - I was happy, he was happy. When Brian found out he texted me about how upset he was, how much respect he'd lost for me, getting angrier and angrier until he told me to F Off. Just like that. He called me a B**ch and told me to F Off. Do you still love him, Mom? Because I couldn't. And when you just shook your head, scolding me, it was Ben who helped me get over it, to give him another chance. Christina never got off Ben. I didn't want to be overly possessive, but she worried me. I suppose I'd always been insecure about her. She wanted what was mine. And he was. The things he would say would scare everyone else, anyone sane, stuff about the future that no one wanted to think of. But at the time, that's where I lived. In the future, after high school, what I'd have, who I'd be. He was perfect.
The first half of Ben and my Official relationship was the best time of my middle school life. All my old 'friends' had cut me off, calling me names and mad because I had chosen him over them. So ha, I was happy. Ben was my first date, my first kiss, my first real relationship. We were perfect together.
Until we weren't. Summer hit hard, and all those things about the future seemed to distance by 20 years. We fell out of communication, we never saw each other, and I craved my independence. Once again, neither one of us handled it well.
Ben began to talk about me with our old peergroup, I retaliated by talking about him with my new peergroup. And finally, I just dumped him. Via Text.
Never, ever, any of you, do that to anyone. Ever.
Dumping him was a new one. He'd been -for weeks!- talking about doing it, but apparently, as he claimed, he was joking. Haha, funny joke. But he wouldn't leave me alone, and I just gave in. I gave in.
But that week I matured fast. I learned to stand up for myself. I learned to ignore people. And I learned that he liked to use my name as a title "You're still dating Maggie", and I wanted my title back.
I met new boys, which told me I didn't need him anymore. I liked those boys, which told me I definately needed to be single awhile.
And I came to the decision that yes, I, Maggie, was single. And if he wasn't going to fight for me, then he sure as hell didn't deserve me.
We met at band. It should have been show choir, but he was all about keeping people in their place - not that I knew this yet. The boy I met was - was hiding behind another monster.
Yes, Melody, Grant. You guessed it.
At the time Grant was friends with Kylie, who had found a girl who looked identical to her and they began dating the twins. Grant was a fifth wheel. This was a situation that would manifest.
Grant and I were even in the musical together, but we did not interact. We were in all the same activities, but not friends. Instead, my first day I met and sang Happy Birthday to Adam. And that f*ed me up for the rest of high school (pardon my language).
I guess, in the back of my mind, I believed in the high school fairy tale. Here was the boy who was in the musical with me, who paid attention and flirted and told me deep dark secrets. He reminded me of myself in seventh grade, a happy and light version of me who I felt disconnected from since the events of the spring before. I was still rocking from being the result of splintering friends - friends who never got along again, all through high school. I blamed myself.
And Adam was there to walk to Wendy's with and introduce to my old friends, the ones who would meet us. Jack videotaped it to show everyone I had a new guy. Tony (not my brother) sat next to me and flirted, Adam sat across from me and played footsie.
And then one day at practice Shauna, a senior, yelled at him. She called him over, scolded him for putting the moves on me, and he never came back.
And then December. Grant suddenly pushed himself into every corner of my life - came over to make christmas cookies, we did elaborate gift exchanges. And our show choir had a New Years party. I was hanging out upstairs with Myah, Adam, and Jason, watching karaoke, when Kylie demanded I come downstairs and play a card game. Several other people pressured me and since she was the host and I was confused, I went.
The game I'd never played before, it involved passing cards and picking up cards. Grant passed me his hand, I passed mine to whoever was next to me, and when I fanned the cards there was a note stuck to it. "Will you go out with me?" was what it said. I made some kind of "there's a --" before reading it. I looked up to see Kylie staring at me -- the whole basement staring at me. They all knew. They all were waiting for my answer. I didn't acknowledge it, folded it up, slipped it in my shoe, and passed my cards. I said I was going upstairs to get a Coke. I told Grant I'd text him, mom came and got me, and I drank Bailey's when I got home.
Kylie wanted him to have someone so their group would look nicer. Everyone had known about it except me. And I was not about to go through that bullshit again.
On one hand, it's good I didn't. We stayed friends. We hung out over the summer, went for froyo with his brother, who'd always been nice to me. We were great friends sophomore year. But adam -- well.
Adam began sexting me in the winter of sophomore year. I had some experience - I'd sexted with Nick in middle school, but never with Ben, who was my boyfriend, interestingly. Adam was flirty. During study hall, he'd rub his leg against mine.
And then he started flirting with everyone else. He was tied to so many girls. Leah would ask for advice in french class - she had him coming over to her house till midnight on school nights. He was young for our grade and couldn't drive, so she'd have to drive him home.
Annie he flirted with at school, Vivica he took into a piano room and kissed. And he wouldn't even eat lunch with me. He'd just sext me, late at night, always after 11. I want you all to know, because - because I don't want you to live through what I lived through. Adam told Viv he had a thing for "innocent girls - like Kari, Annie, her". Leah was pointedly left out -- that was big gossip, that insult. But I was left out too, and nobody knew. Because nobody knew. Because I wasn't even high enough in his eyes to be flirted with in public so people would speculate. I was a secret.
And I put up with that. And I gave in. And when he went on a cruise and Alicia said they'd slept together and "did you have to drive him home after?" became a running joke, I still stayed his friend and I still somehow liked him. And even though I disproved that rumor with my calendar skills, and he denied it, I told myself I'd never give in to him again.
There's no oops. I knew what I was doing. Winter of junior year came around. Grant would ignore me in the winter because of show choir - and Abby. We didn't have classes together. He was in the good band. He was drum major during marching season. We distanced a bit, but stayed friends.
And I let Adam booty call me again. I told people. I watched him flirt with Leah, I knew he texted me after she went to sleep because he told me. I helped get them together. And once they started dating ...
In the back of my mind was still the high school fairytale. First guy I met. We were theatre leaders. Shouldn't there be an epic romance? Senior year we would direct a show together, star in a show together, be Theatre Council leaders... go to prom together.
Junior year we starred in a show together - I played his mother figure. He and Leah stayed together longer than anyone understood. He still tried to booty call me, I never gave in. I had a backbone, and if he wasn't going to respect his relationship, I was.
Senior year Grant dumped me as a friend and started hooking up with a girl he had no respect for. He had a thing for short girls for awhile. He stopped talking to me. I wasn't good for his image, his ego. He wanted to be prom king.
Adam was busted when he returned the iPod he'd been using to message people to Leah, the owner. It had sexts on it.
Not from me.
And my world died. Because both guys I'd trusted, been friends with, were just shitty. Adam at least I always knew that was his nature, horny and young and dumb. Grant hurt. Adam hurt because it wasn't enough that I wasn't good enough for real life, I wasn't good enough to be the only one. He has a new girlfriend. He seems genuinely happy.
I'm ready for college, and I'm going to find a guy who takes me on actual dates and to actual places and introduces me to his friends. Who isn't afraid to be like "hey, I like this girl."