Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Day, Part 2

* I don't have a lot of time, so this installment might be short. I have to go to class until ten tonight.*

Once I got off that chair I was filled with remorse and regret. What the hell had I done? What came over me? What had I been thinking?

It spread all over school before fifth period. By the end of the day everyone knew it and as we met in our homeroom before school was dismissed for the day my homeroom teacher asked me if it were true. If we wanted to run for Student Council we had to let our homeroom teacher know and they would put us in the race.

I almost said no. No, I wasn't running. It was a mistake. I wasn't doing it. But the same thing came over me and I couldn't control myself.

"Yes!" I told my teacher, "I'm going to run for Secretary."

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"I'm sure."

"Ok then," he said, but I could tell he didn't think it was a good idea.

Each afternoon I met my stepmother Louise in her classroom and from there we drove home. Since she taught at my school I didn't have to ride the bus. I never looked forward to seeing her because my teachers, all her friends, gave her reports all day long about how poorly I was doing. She had poisoned them against me. She spent her planning periods in the break room bemoaning her plight as the poor stepmother that the daughter was jealous of. She told them an elaborate story about how I wanted my father to myself, how I was a spoiled brat, how I was lazy and didn't apply myself and they all sat and shook their heads and listened to her and vowed to not let me get away with my crap in their classes. They promised they'd set me straight when I was with them.

So I ended up being treated cruelly by everyone in my life. My father, my stepmother, my teachers and the other kids at school. The world was literally against me.

I even had to go to the school psychologist. She and Louise had gone to college together and were great friends, so during our sessions she'd accuse me of lying when I tried to tell her what was happening and then she too would tell me how bad I was, how selfish and how disrespectful. She told my father and Louise that I was one of the most defiant, stubborn children she'd ever seen. I may even have schizophrenia. I was deeply troubled.

I have a lot of anger looking back at all of this. I feel like my caretakers all failed me. I blame some of this on the fact that we were in a small, isolated town. Mostly it was Louise's fault. She really was that conniving.

But anyway, that day when I met her in her classroom I knew she'd having something to say about my running for office.

Now at the time Louise was newly pregnant and was really playing it up. She was one of those drama queens who wears maternity clothes after she pees on the stick and sees a plus sign. She had morning sickness all day and night. She talked of nothing else besides her pregnancy and her plans for the baby which was going to be born perfect in every way and be the complete opposite of me.

Oddly enough I didn't have animosity for the baby. I knew it wasn't the baby's fault. I was petrified of what my life would become once the baby arrived, but I didn't hate the baby. Of course everyone said I did. Louise said she feared I would try to kill it.

"I heard you're running for office," she laughed, "Is this some kind of stunt to get attention because your jealous of me and the baby? Is that what this is?"

"No" I argued.

She sniffed. She always sniffed.

"Well good luck because you don't have a chance at winning. And who's your campaign manager? School rules say every student running has to have another student to act as campaign manager."

I thought about it for a second. The campaign manager was sort of like a vice position. Once a candidate got elected the student who served as her campaign manager was like an understudy, filling in if the officer couldn't attend a meeting of fulfill her role in office. I couldn't run without a campaign manager. It was against the rules.

"I don't know," I said, "I have some ideas."

"Sure you do."

That night I lie and bed and hatched a plan. If I were really going to do this, I had to pick someone who would increase my chances of winning. I had to really think about it intelligently.

What I needed to do was to infiltrate the popular people and bring one of them over to my side. It seemed impossible, but for the past year I had sat close to their lunch table. I overheard their internal struggles and dramas and I had someone in mind. If only I could get her to talk to me long enough to convince her. If only she'd be seen talking to me. I had a feeling she might, but if I handled it wrong, it would result in total social catastrophe.

But that was ok because I had nothing to lose.

To be continued...


Jeannie said...

I can't imagine.

What made me hate Louise was the "sniffing". My God I hate that so much!!!!! It makes her conniving and manipulating and dramatics totally believable - not that I disbelieved before but it just locks the image in place.

Last Minute Lyn said...

I can't wait to read more

Aleta said...

I love your stories an looking forward to Part 3. But good Lord.. I'm sorry for your childhood!

Chiada said...

Reading this makes me ashamed of myself when I was in school. There was a girl who lived in a run down house with an overgrown yard and dirt driveway that was full of old junked up cars (which was in the middle of nice houses with manicured yards and concrete driveways with newer cars). She had long scraggly hair and wore old thrift store clothes that were stained, dirty, and out of fashion. She also developed her chest area before the rest of us. Kids said mean things about her. I never said mean things about her, but I didn't stand up for her either. I didn't go along with what the other kids said about her, but I didn't shut them up, either. I just heard them and didn't reply or whatever. Or I'd say "really?" about something they said about her. For some reason she took a liking to me. Maybe it was because we lived near each other. Maybe it was because I didn't say bad things about her. But she would always say Hi to me in the halls or on the playground. She'd see me and yell out a greeting from far away. I was embarrassed by this. I wasn't a popular person, but I didn't want to be a nerd, either. I wanted to fit in. So I'd say Hi back to her, but I'd say it kinda quietly, rather than taking it to the next level and asking her how she was. I never got to know her and I never saw her much once we got to high school. But I wish that I hadn't been so meek and that I'd been a friend instead of just being neutral. I'm sorry. You probably knew people like this. For her and for you, I'm sorry.

booda baby said...

It's such a difficult and delicate thing to do, to walk through a childhood of emotional abuse. The wounds and the bruises can still hurt and ... well, I personally think it's important to write out of forgiveness and not revenge. Not for them. No, not for them. For your own heart and mind.

Anyway, this is painful and beautiful and I believe whatever's still in you aching will only see how spectacularly beautiful it's become.

Jess said...

I'm looking forward to the next installment and so hope you won that election.

That damn expat said...

Amazing. That's the first thing that comes to mind after reading your blog. It took me three days but I read it all and I'm hooked. I hope you won that election and I hope you get a book deal soon because I want a signed copy in my library

JoeinVegas said...

You are such a tease - nice long stories you have to cut into pieces to keep us dangling.

Sauntering Soul said...

I know Louise is dead, but I just want to punch her right now.

kerry said...

Chiada- I did some of that as a kid as well. I wanted to be friends with certain kids, but I thought they'd keep me from getting in with the popular kids. I tried to ride a line- close enough to feel that I was their friend, yet far enough that they couldn't "hold me back".

Not good. Not good at all. I have tried to learn from that. The popular kids were never going to accept me anyway, and that really ought to have been clear. Apparently I wasn't all that bright as a kid.

So now my friends are chosen for themselves, not for what other people might think of them. It's working out quite well, this time. I like my friends.

WideLawns- Louise sounds like quite a piece of work and I'm glad you escaped.

Ordinary Housewife said...

Chiada, I, too, still remember every time I was mean to someone growing up, as well as every time I did nothing when other kids were teasing and being mean to the misfits.

There was one girl in our school was extremely overweight and poor. I never did anything mean to her, but I never did anything very friendly either. When we were in high school she moved away, went blind, married a guy who died young, and was living a very meager, lonely existence. She called my mom about 20 years out of high school (my mom was a teacher aide at our school and was everybody's angel). She told my mom that she remembered how kind I was when we were younger. My mom gave me her phone number and I procrastinated calling her, never called her and about a year later she died. This pathetic story is an example of how the LITTLE things you do to other human beings can haunt you forever and ever. My kids have had to hear this and similar stories hundreds of times, because I'm determined not to let them live into adulthood feeling the kind of regret I do.
If there are any teenagers reading this, believe me, how you treat other people is the most important part of your character. You can be the most important, most influential person on this planet just by the kindness you show to your fellow human beings, even if it's just the few people around you.

Pat said...

If you want to know who is the idiot who keeps checking in a million times a day, I confess.

Joy said...

Your story is heartwrenching. Putting it out here in little bits only makes it more so for me.

On many levels, I can really relate to your pain. I never had to deal with the abuse from my parents though.

This story makes me want to go back in time, find you and hug you close and tell you that you are indeed precious.

I think you're younger than I am, and I hope that you will be able to let go of the anger in time. It's not easy, but what a freakin relief it is! Time is your friend. And you are an amazing person, in spite of or due to your very difficult beginnings.

Keep writing girlfriend, you have it.

Hugs at you, my fellow survivor.

Paige said...

This breaks my heart.

Didnt every one us else think we had it so bad, then you get reminders that we did not even know how many kinds of bad there could be

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