Sophomore year of high school was easier than Freshman year.
My face was somewhat familiar to the kids in my classes... but still, the cliques were very strong.
I was still getting bullied and ostracized (like that really cool time when a group of upper classmen were having a donut party before school started, and a couple of them decided, Eh, what the hell? Let's just wipe our donut-glaze-covered hands on this timid Mexican girl's black windbreaker... while she's wearing it. That felt great. Standing there, having these guys wipe the glaze off their hands all over my ONLY jacket... and nobody doing a thing to stop them... you know, just laughing. That was very nice. That's sarcasm, by the way), but I was a little more open to talking in class-- people were finally responding to my shy smile.
I remember being a little excited about getting this "popular" girl to talk to me (Lina, her name was Lina...). She was part of this huge clique... clique which had many members in my advanced classes. Maybe once she ok's me, the rest of the group will be nice to me... It's a really big group... and they're so cool...
She was pretty, funny, and goofy... she did not care to act silly to get a laugh.
This popular girl had become friendly towards me after she noticed my high scores in chemistry. She'd ask me for answers, I'd give them to her-- it had been my way of life throughout ALL my school years, why change now?
I remember one day, before chemistry began, part of her group approached her in class to discuss some sort of after-school plans. I was unlucky enough to be giving her an answer when the horde approached. The popular girl turned around smiling, telling me she'd get right back to me... and that's where I made eye-contact with this huge girl. The girl stared directly into the eyes... disgusted... frown on her face.
MeanGirl: Why are you talking... ::looks me up and down once, slowly:: to her?
The popular girl said something I couldn't understand. I felt the color leaving my face... eyes beginning to burn.
MeanGirl: DON'T talk to her.
She was very authoritative... very intimidating.
MeanGirl pulled the popular girl out of the classroom, but not without first giving me one more dirty, extremely repulsed look.
I took my seat at the table in the far back... and did not look up the remainder of class.
The popular girl never again talked to me... she just found another girl to help her with answers.
I continued doing my chemistry work alone... of course... and NO ONE... no one, no one, NO ONE tried helping me or talking to me in that class again (no, I don't attribute this to the mean girl, but I'm sure if the popular girl would have continued to talk to me, that'd make ONE person who'd talk to me in chemistry. Whenever partners were required, I had to be GIVEN one... and that person would ALWAYS scoff and roll their eyes... I swear... "partnered" lab assignments gave me panic attacks. Often, the actual teacher had to be my partner-- she was a sweetheart, she pitied the hell out of me).
Fast-forward ten years when I notice this mean girl is somehow part of Darcy's group, after seeing her in a group photo.
It felt like a joke... a really mean one... like... getting sucker punched below the belt.
I kept this knowledge to myself, no one from the group knew of my history with this chick (except for ONE of the guys-- the manipulative one, of course, because that's how my life works out).
Last year, when I coincided with her at one of the group's parties, I was-- why lie-- scared of seeing her after so long. The dude who knew of my story promised all would go well.
She greeted me like anyone greets a stranger, and I felt relief.
I don't know if this is true for everyone, but from my experience, only ONE person who has been cruel to me in the past remembers me when they've seen me years later.
Either these people committed their cruelty aloofly (some sort of demon possession)... or feel so embarrassed about hurting others so recklessly, that their mind has refused to remember any of it.
But me? I remember every single face, every single name, of those who have been especially cruel to me in the past.
I don't think this mean girl remembered me... but I certainly did.
I proceeded to do something stupid:
I trusted her... I trusted that sad encounter in high school was just... something in the past.
People can change, right? Maybe she was just having a very bad day and she was angry at the world when I was unfortunate enough to cross her sight.
I really, REALLY wanted to believe she wasn't mean-spirited. Why else would these guys hang out with her?
The next few times she was very normal and... indifferent to me, which is fine by me.
Then came a BBQ night a couple of weeks ago (the day I was used as bait) where she had me laughing for hours... and the unthinkable happened: she hugged me goodbye.
I told her, sincerely " Thank you for the laughs! You are hilarious!"
I thought we were finally good... and I felt good about it... because if she had no recollection of that mean blip in our past, I felt it was ok to let go. WHY remember something that hurt my soul so bad 12 years ago? The girl was obviously having a shitty day that day she practically murdered me with her eyes, and didn't consider the repercussions her cruel actions would elicit. I was fine forgiving and forgetting... because obviously she was a completely different person.
Then this weekend happened...