Sunday, November 15, 2009

With friends like these...

 Patrick was easily two heads taller than the other second graders in my elementary school. Evidently he was growing faster than his mother could keep up with because his jeans were never quite long enough and you could always see his socks. Similarly, his shirts never hung past his belt. A little bit of belly was always exposed. Years later this particular fashion trend would come to be known as a mid-driff and it was a sad day when the principal banned them from my high school. But on Patrick this was not sexy. He looked like Bruce Banner had gotten stuck halfway through his transformation into the Hulk.

He had curly red cabbage patch doll hair and freckles that made his pale skin look like it had been sand blasted. His obesity had turned his walk into more of a waddle and while this tickled my funny bone something fierce, I didn't dare chuckle in his presence because quite frankly he looked entirely capable of completely absorbing me.

Our conflict started in the cafeteria one day when he saw me walk in with my Batman lunch box. "Hey!" He called out to me. I slowly turned around, ready to surrender anything this beast wanted from me. I raised my eyebrows inquisitively, waiting for him to continue. "Batman swallows." He informed me. I was eight. I had no freaking idea what that meant. Patrick had twin older brothers in 8th grade who did, and who had shared that information with him. "Do you swallow?" He asked me. This was not a fair question. We were in uncharted waters.

"Everyone swallows." I said matter-of-factly, not realizing how badly I was incriminating not only myself, but the whole of the population as well. Patrick's booming & wicked churchbell laughter echoed off of the walls. His grin became a scowl and with one of his ruddy meat paws he reached out and swiped the lunchbox out of my hand. It hit the floor and its contents spilled out. The bag of goldfish crackers, the ones my mom had packed knowing they were my favorite, slid and came to a stop at Patrick's feet. Without hesitation he crushed them, digging his heel in until only an orange power remained. "My mom made..." was all I got out before the tears hit. I was angry and ashamed in equal measures. Patrick was well-versed in the concept of adding insult to injury and he took this opportunity to say:

"I'm gonna take a shit on your mom."

Wow. What an image. I stood there spellbound as he shoved past me and walked on in search of his next victim. And this was the way things continued for the next several months as Patrick expressed his desire to defecate on all the things that I loved: my Thundercats backpack, my Optimus Prime action figure, my copy of Charlotte's Web, even Brandice... the brown haired blue-eyed goddess the entire school knew I was obsessed with. None of them were spared the threat of his renegade butthole.

Then a funny thing happened. My step-dad was transferred to Chicago and I moved in the middle of the school year. On my last day the entire class made going away cards for me. Crudely scribbled in crayon, they're still one of my favorite possessions. And even more amazing than the drawing of a rainbow with a heart next to it from Brandice was the card I received from Patrick. "Goodbye Chris" it said on the front. Inside I had expected to find one last threat that made good use of the brown crayon, but I was wrong. It said simply "Chris, you are my best friend". I stared at that for a long time. Was it some kind of joke? A life lasting mindfuck my brain would never conquer? Or was he being completely sincere? Either way, I couldn't be mad. Only sorry.


Post a Comment