Before I dive into today’s topic, I do want to note that I am amazed that I have kept up with this exercise for almost a month. Along with forcing me to write each day, its brought back some memories of people and events I haven’t thought about in years. Which leads us to today’s assignment.
Think of one dramatic event from your life (an accident, a fight, a loss) and write the event in reverse
The antagonist in today’s story is Terri, our key stealing student from yesterday’s post. At time of this story (8th grade), Terri was a cute girl who bragged about her family being moneyed and that she descended from famous people. As an adult looking back, I realize she was probably very insecure, but to a 13-year-old girl who was being raised by a working-class single mom, she was downright annoying.
Before I begin, I also want to clarify that I was not the type of child to engage in fisticuffs. But for some odd reason, my Marine Corps brother decided, on one of his visits home, to teach his skinny little sister how to throw a decent punch, like a prize-fighter does. I kept this knowledge under wraps and unused until one fateful day at school.
So here it goes– The Story of a Punch up in Reverse
(And for your musical enjoyment, some Radiohead, “Punchup at a Wedding” as a musical soundtrack)
To this day, I don’t know why I didn’t get in trouble and why none of my classmates who witnessed the fight, reported it.
The teacher quieted the students and started the lesson as though nothing had ever transpired. As I entered the classroom, the entire class stood up, clapping. I trudged up the stairs to the classroom, dreading my fate, for I most assuredly would be getting detention or at least a trip to Principal’s office. Finally, realizing I could not put off the inevitable forever, I put my shoes and pushed open the door to the hall. I lingered in the locker room, shocked at what I had done and fully assured I was in deep trouble.
We both turned away from each other and continued to get dressed for class. She held the side of her head, hot tears welling up but for the first time since gym class, saying nothing. The entire girls locker room went completely quiet, everyone stunned at what had just occurred. Frustrated and at the end of my rope, my body went on auto-pilot and with a move that would have made Muhammad Ali proud, I did a swift direct punch to the side of her head. Talking the entire time and purposely looking through me, Terri pushed me hard to get at her locker basket. But unfortunately, our locker baskets with our street clothes were right next to each other. I was finally set free from sitting next to her on the bench, listening to her brag. Gym class finally over, we all rushed to the locker room to get dressed for the next class.
The comments continued for the entire class, like a train that never comes to a stop. There were also implied digs about my home life, and why didn’t my mom remarry, and didn’t it “suck” not to have a dad. She bragged about all the gifts she had gotten for Christmas, how nice her house was and did we all know she descended from Betty Ross? As soon as we hit the bench, the commentary started rolling. We all strolled back to the bench and I found myself sitting next to Terri. We played basketball for a few rounds and then were replaced by the next 5 students on the rotation. We were in the first team of students to play on the court. Our teacher had us sit on the two benches on the side of the gym and began to call out the teams.
As we counted from one to four, I realized I was on a team with Terri, who was known as the annoying “motor mouth” of the class. Our teacher had us count from one to four, splitting the class into two sets of teams. Changing into our gym clothes, we walked up the stairs and lined up on the side of the basketball court in the school gymnasium. The bell finally rang, signally the end of Math, and the students all rushed to the lockers in the basement of the building.
However, winter sports usually meant basketball, something I was not particularly great at, but it meant that at least part of the time, we’d be warming the bench. Gazing out the window at a few errant flurries of snow, I geared myself up for the next hour of athletic exertion aka “gym class”, where once again, my lack of coordination would be on full display. This particular winter day was like most others as I sat in math class, trying to absorb some piece of algebra that was eluding my 13 year old brain. As a general rule, I enjoyed school and most of my classes, with the exception of gym.
It occurred in the 8th grade on a winter day after the holiday break. This is the story of how for the first and only time, I punched someone in the head.
(Note: This exercise was fun, but challenging!)