I hesitate to even write this. I’d always been a good girl; done the right thing. Never even walked on someone’s lawn. Mom always said, “They work hard to make their lawn beautiful. You mustn’t walk on it.”
I don’t remember a rebellious thought before. Well ... except during the marble tournament in fourth grade, when we got caught playing keepsies; bumping Judy off the teeter-totter in first grade, breaking her front tooth ... oh, and pulling the stool out from under Sandy when she wouldn’t let me have a turn to play the church piano. Then, there was the time I gave Ted a bloody nose with my perfectly good snowball throw.
But this was different. Maybe it was spring fever. Maybe it was my junior high age, secretly wanting to become one of “them” — you know, the kids who always tested the rules.
While waiting for the bus, I said to my friend, “I wonder what it feels like to skip school.”
“I’ve wondered that too.” She looked at me. “Do you think it would be fun or would you feel guilty?”
“I guess we’ll never know ... unless we ... ” We looked at each other and smiled.
“Tomorrow?” she asked.
I nodded. “Bring money.”
I didn’t sleep well. Excitement, anticipation and planning rumbled around in my thoughts. I got up early, dressed in my favorite sleeveless dress with scarecrows around the bottom, and put on good walking shoes. Fifth hour. It would happen fifth hour.
Concentration in class that Thursday was hard. Time dragged. If we didn’t get caught, maybe they wouldn’t notice we weren’t there for two hours.
Finally, fifth hour, my Home Ec time, arrived. We were sewing aprons. I became very industrious. Suddenly, I clamped my hand over my mouth, made my eyes big and rushed over to Mrs. Peterson.
“Mrs. Peterson.” I muffled. “I think I swallowed a pin. It was in my mouth while I was pinning the ruffle. I coughed and felt something sharp and now it’s gone. I need to go.” I ran out of the room before she could say anything and met my friend in the hallway. We rushed out the door, across the parking lot, then walked leisurely down the hill to our destination: Albertsons grocery store. We giggled, laughed and talked about how easy it was. She simply told her teacher she was going to throw up. No teacher wants to clean that up.
There was a long food counter in Albertsons. I already knew what I wanted. My friend ordered a banana split. I got a hot fudge sundae. We took our time eating and talking, but not about what we’d done. We pretended we were two adults out for a treat.
Time was up. We had a bus to catch. Trudging back up the steep hill, we discussed how easy it was to do the wrong thing.
“Yup. It was pretty easy,” I said. “Exciting even, but I don’t want to do it again.”
“Agree,” she grinned. “I won’t make it a habit.” We both knew the consequences at home if our parents found out.
Our bus pulled up. We sat, each silent in our own thoughts. I wondered what would happen tomorrow. Would they question us? Will I ever tell anyone what we did?
No one said a word the next day or ever. It’s been a permanent secret, until I just told you.
Chase Hoseley is a freelance writer and retired kindergarten teacher who lives in Clarkston. She looks forward to sharing her out-of-the-box, out-loud thoughts with you each month. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.