When I was four, my mother remarried and a year later my brother was born. Six months after that, the house was too small so we moved. We moved to another state, so I had to take a placement test to figure out where I belonged. I was in second grade, but I had a fourth- or fifth- grade reading level, but the rest of me? Definitely second grade.
So I was placed in a second grade class; a double-room which had 50-60 kids and two teachers. When it came time for reading, I was placed at a little round table with two other kids, K and E, and we were reading from a fourth-grade book while the rest of the class read from some other books where they covered up portions of the page with strips of colorful construction paper. I never figured out why they were doing that.
Sometime during a summer, maybe between 2nd and 3rd or maybe later, K moved to a nearby town. I remember seeing him at a friend’s country club pool one summer when I was old enough to notice these things and he was really cute and athletic.
Then there was E. We were both pretty nerdy, but I think he was nerdier than I. I don’t know what to base that on, because I was the only girl who would play with H, who kind of looked like sleestack. But H had the lunar module from Space:1999 and the action figures and I got to be Maya. What little nerdy-girl would pass that up, even if H looked like a sleestack?
So there was a weird not-quite relationship with me and E over the years. In fifth grade, there were too many first graders coming into the three elementary schools in our town, so they decided to bus the fifth-graders to the high school, which had room. This meant that from where I lived, it took a good 45 min to get to school, and we were packed on the bus with the middle- and high-schoolers, so seats were at a premium. After several afternoons of waiting in line for the bus and having E cut in front of me, I finally got so pissed off that I whacked him over the head with my lunchbox.
Have you ever seen a head-wound? The blood was everywhere, and I remember when the principal came out to drag me in to his office to call my parents and suspend me for 2 days, we followed the trail of blood from the bus all the way past the nurse‚Äôs office. I was freaking out by this time, not knowing that the head bleeds like crazy on the smallest of cuts, and I don’t even think E needed stitches, but I do remember that when I returned to the high school as a freshman, 4 years later, there were still blood drops on the tar outside from that day. But E never cut in front of me in line again.
In middle school, we were divided into 3 “houses” and each house was divided into 5 groups, and you pretty much traveled from class to class with your group. I guess now that the groups were divided according to our intellect. I was with the same group all three years, and of course E was in my group all the way through high school, I think. One day, in math class, we were taking a quiz or a test so the room was really quiet, and E farted a huge loud one that splatted against the stone-like seats we had. I think I gagged, even though it was just a noise, and it may be the same day that I had a nervous giggling fit that made the teacher take me outside to collect myself. (As an aside, I have a really easy gag reflex. The episode of Seinfeld where Kramer feeds Beefarino to the horse? GAG GAG GAG. I tried explaining the plot to a friend who had missed it and started gagging while telling the story. Trainspotting? GAG GAG GAG. There was a scene in that movie where I had to cover my eyes and ears to keep from gagging. You know which one, if you’ve seen the movie. Anyway…)
The last interaction with E that I remember was as we were lining up in our caps and gowns, getting ready to graduate. E comes up to me and I tell him he looks nice, and he tells me that he’s freaking out because his family is out there, and he thinks he has to come back for summer school, and what’s going to happen when he goes to get his diploma? Are they going to tell him “get the fuck out of here, you’re not graduating” in front of everyone? So I found out that they just give you a rolled up piece of paper during the ceremony, and that your diploma comes in the mail in a few weeks, so he wouldn’t be embarrassed. After that, I never saw him again, although there are things that happen in life that make me think of him.
Last week, an old high school buddy sends me an email to let me know I am on the MIA list for our 20th reunion. I look up a few of the other MIAs that were interesting, like a guy who used to draw great cartoons and was into TMNT before it was made into a kids cartoon. He was nowhere to be found. And then there was E on the list. I did a quick Google and found his web page. I read a couple of his essays and discovered (unless it’s fiction) that he lived in LA for a while. Wouldn’t that have been funny if we had run into each other all the way on the other side of the country? I also found some strange stuff on the page, including a photo of (him?) someone in bondage gear and a Darth Vader helmet and cape!! Now that’s the kind of thing I would keep private about myself, but that’s just me being a nerdy-girl.
What I want to know is; should I email him?

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