***A Special word before you read this one. I have inserted a couple comments, bracketed by ****to let you know some additional developments.
The thing with Mack in the sixth grade was pretty much the end of things until the summer between seventh and eighth grade, the one with Punch, the letter, MJ, cups, and a whole lot of drama.
In the meantime, for whatever reason, no other guys would ever talk to me, except my play cousin Mo, Mo’s friends, his real cousin, Dre, and all of the guys who wanted me to hook them up with my friends. My relationship with Mo was a curious thing because he was so popular and I wasn’t. He wouldn’t let anyone pick on me or bug me though. He didn’t necessarily treat other girls well, especially those he dated, but he always treated me with respect and kindness.
So I turned to my special friend at the end of sixth grade to give a letter to one of his football croonies, HIM. Of course, I hadn’t really thought this through. You see, the day I found out Mo was on the team was a bad day between me and HIM. I’d known Mo since third grade when he was still chubby and I was still confident. We had class together every year til sixth grade, and then we were still at the same school. I loved Mo, and the big teddy bear had a soft spot for me. So when we saw each other, of course we hugged, and because I was very short (and quite a few pounds lighter) he did what men to this day still love to do–he picked me up off my feet and swung me round. That was the first time all day I wasn’t aware of HIM. Unfortunately, HE was aware of me, and HE wasn’t happy that some other guy was touching me.
After Mo left, I was riding my bike around in circles, waiting for my babysitter to ride home with me. HE came up to me and clipped my bike tire, sending me flying through the air to the pavement. I should still have bruises. So having Mo deliver the letterwasn’t the greatest idea to begin with, and he didn’t have a clue who I meant at first. We ran through more people with the same first initial as HIS than I knew existed. I wanted to scream (Mo knows way too many people). We finally got it sorted out, and he promised me that he would deliver a letter for me (note: NOT the letter referred to above!) Long story short, I to this day have no idea where that letter actually went, but if it made it to it’s destination, I’ll never know. I have to ask Mo about that when I see him. ***Sadly, I never got to ask Mo that question. I only saw him one more time after this entry, before he was tragically murdered in June 2007.***
So, summer between seventh and eighth grade. Someone down South died, I think my mother’s half brother. Anyway, everyone was going down for the funeral, but I couldn’t go because no one would pay to take me (and to this day I have never been to Arkansas, but you would never know it to hear me talk!) so I had to stay with my aunt PeeWee. Aunt PeeWee lived in an apartment complex where a lot of my girlfriends lived, including my best friend, so I didn’t mind the arrangement. It was the middle of July, and no one in their right minds would want to be in Arkansas then anyway.
I was with my best friend, and two other girls (I’m no longer friends with them) when we saw Punch. I thought he was cute, but I never approached guys. I didn’t think he was interested in me anyway. He changed my mind about that when he came up behind me and grabbed my butt. Not the most endearing thing you can do, and it should have clued me in that he was somewhat crude and probably oversexed for a 14 year old, but hey, I was 13. He apologized and we started talking. It was a very odd little courtship. I got him to tell me his real name (it’s almost a rule with me that I don’t call people by nicknames), Peter John Davis, very generic. He was an artist, a very good one. He drew amazing pictures, and he was amazingly hairless (yes, I meant that…no underarm hair, had never had any, and I cannot attest to other regions but I take his word for it they are bare too.) Although he should have had hairy palms.
Remember those objects/persons from earlier? The cup, the letter, MJ, drama? Here we go. I had written a letter to HIM after I figured out that Mo had probably never delivered the one I’d wrote HIM before. I paid for a stamp and let the U.S. postal service do my dirty work this time. It was Wednesday, day two of the whole Punch thing, so I figured I would take care of this unfinished business and start really talking to this guy who would be going back to Cleveland at the end of the summer. The MJ thing was all Mo’s fault as well. Mo came by one night when we were all hanging out in the complex (Mo lived in another area of the same complex), and he got into a little tiff with Punch. He told me later, “I don’t know why you like that dude, man. Dude look like Michael Jackson in the Wiz.” The funniest part of the comment is the more I looked at him, the more I saw the resemblance. The nose especially. He had the pre-surgery Michael Jackson nose (I know you’re thinking it so I’ll just say it–so that’s where his nose went?).
I don’t know who is responsible for the cup, but they need to be shot because the cup is an awful thing. The first time I had been inside of Punch’s summer abode, his Uncle’s apartment, I was there watching What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, trying to keep Punch’s hands off my chest. I wanted something to drink, so I asked first, then went to the fridge to get a pop (or soda depending on where you are). There was the cup. It appeared to have melted ice cream in it. “Why do you keep melted ice cream in your refrigerator?” I asked stupidly. “It’s not ice cream,” Punch told me. You will swear I’m lying to you…are you ready…are you sure?…you’re so not ready, but I’ll tell you anyway…Punch and his uncle used to sit in the basement when it was really hot out and watch movies–adult movies. So apparently the cup was the result of, what the movie America’s Sweethearts calls “doing himself a big favor.” Yeah. Disgusting pig. Turns out all Punch really wanted from our “relationship” was the opportunity to have someone else do him a big favor. I sure hope he found what he was looking for, because he came up empty-handed with me…well, except for man’s other best friend! ***One reason I am no longer friends with one of those other girls is because she was loose…she slept with Punch, who was number 13 (at age 13, go figure!)***
After one week the relationship with Punch, and my stay in the complex, were over, and I was back to HIM. He never made any comment about the letter, we just went on as we always had been. Sometimes we talked and joked together, sometimes we traded love taps, sometimes I sat and watched him play basketball while I wrote in my diary. Punch went back to Cleveland after school started again. I saw him once more before he left. It was the first and last time that he was awkward around me. From the beginning he had been confident. I watched Mo play ball in the complex one day and asked him why I always managed to find losers, why no guys liked me.
“Guys aren’t ready for you yet, *** (2blu)” he said, attempting another fade away jumper. “You are smart, you don’t take just anything, and you won’t do just anything with anybody. You respect yourself. A guy has to have his act together to come at somebody like you. And trust me, guys our age really ain’t got that far yet.” My little Ghandi.
Wish I could say it gets better from here, but it doesn’t. The next couple years involve even more disappointments, including the next summer’s upward bound program, high school freshman year, and the frist appearance of HIM in the same school as me. Keep reading, and I may even tell you about Mookie.
Love is all about the shades of Gray,