On Tuesday, a girl from my biology class slammed into me, causing me to drop all of my belongings onto the ground. Instead of apologizing, she quickly spun around, rage burning in his eyes.
“Watch where you’re going, bitch!” she snarled, and with a flick of her pony tail, she was gone.
I honestly couldn’t believe it. I mean, the high school I went to wasn’t exactly full of well-mannered individuals, but nothing that intense had ever happened to me in my entire career as a student. My blood boiled, my heart rate quickened, and I was overtaken with quiet fury.
“A pox upon you and your family!” I snarled under my breath, baring my teeth like a rabid dog. She didn’t hear me, though; she just continued to sashay down the corridor. I stood completely still and stared after her until I couldn’t see her anymore. At that moment, she was worse to me than anything else in the world. I envisioned a large worm-creature I’d read about in a book once and ranked her beneath it.
Now, the thing about community college is that it is crawling with middle-aged people. I knew this before I began school, and I definitely didn’t see it as something to fear. In fact, I welcomed it with open arms! I imagined myself meeting people from various backgrounds and age groups, creating a diverse friend group to drape upon myself like a robe of fine silk. Basically, I thought it would be just like the show Community and me and my old friends would have paintball fights and build pillow forts in our downtime.
That was not the case.
The old people at my school tend to keep to themselves. Like startled rats, they scurry from class to class, moving in packs, avoiding sunlight and the unwelcome gazes of their younger classmates. When they do happen to make eye contact with a youth, they flinch away, as if they’ve been slapped. For all of these reasons, I was surprised when a middle aged women knelt down to help me pick up my things.
“That Megan,” she said as she shook her head, “She’s a real piece of work.”
Megan. Of course her name was Megan. What a stereotypical mean-girl name.
“Yeah, she sure is.” I replied with a grateful smile. “Thanks for helping me!”
“I’t’s no problem at all! I’m Pam, by the way.” She then launched into a lengthy tirade about children these days and their lack of respect for others. I nodded vigorously, chiming in occasionally with tiny scoffs to show my agreement. Soon, we were walking down the hall side by side, discussing all the things about the world that pissed us off. Congress, racism, inflation- our rage knew no bounds!
Eventually, we entered the cafeteria and walked up to a table full of other middle aged women. Pam introduced them to me. I don’t remember their names, but that doesn’t matter- no, what matters is the fact that they were angry about a lot of stuff, too, and weren’t afraid to talk about it. As we conversed, I looked around the table, taking in the slight wrinkles in their skin and their dated hairstyles. ‘I’ll be one of you soon,’ I thought. ‘I will age rapidly, the years racing past me faster and ever faster, until I look in the mirror and see nothing but soft, sagging flesh and wrinkles galore. Then I will die.’
Usually, thoughts of getting old fill me with intense disgust, but this time, I felt comforted. Knowing that I would one day stand in their shoes made me feel close to these women; like we were all part of a sacred sisterhood, marching forward with our heads held high, hands locked in an unbreakable bond of unity.
We sat together and ranted for about an hour, until we had to head off to our respective classes.
“It was so nice meeting you!” Pam said happily as she wrapped me in a hug. Then, like any respectable old person, she offered me candy. I quickly accepted, reaching forward eagerly to accept her gift. She dug around inside her purse until she pulled out a Tic-Tac box, emptying three into my palm.
I balked at this a little- I hope I never get to a place in my life in my life where I think Tic-Tacs are candy. Honestly, I might as well be dead.
But still: food is food, and I greedily popped the mints into my gaping maw.
“It was nice meeting you, too, Pam!” I said with a smile, and then we parted ways.
Two days later, I was walking to biology when I heard a voice call out from behind me.
“Kiana! Wait up!”
It was Pam and two of the women I’d met in the cafeteria. I smiled and waved as I waited for them to catch up. We then walked to class, strutting down the hall like the womanly woman that we were.
Then, something caught my eye: In the distance, at the top of a staircase, was Megan, the girl who had yelled at me the other day! I watched as she stumbled down the stairs, chasing after some boy. She was talking excitedly behind him while he was texting someone, obviously not at all interested in what she was saying. For a moment, I felt a little bit bad for Megan. She was obviously interested in this boy, but he wasn’t giving her the time of day. I wanted to scoop her up like a large child and whisper comforting things into her ear. And I would have, if only grabbing people and forcing them into submission so that you can rock them back and forth were more socially acceptable.
All of my sympathy vanished a nanosecond later. As Megan walked blindly down the stairs, she bumped into a girl, causing her to spill the contents of her purse. I watched as Megan spun around and hurled a few angry words at her victim. History repeating itself!
Then, a gift from the Gods: In the middle of her blind rage, Megan tripped and tumbled down the stairs, spilling all of her possessions as she went. As she rolled, she began to collect dirt, like a human broom. Down and down she fell, hitting each step with more force than the last until she finally came to a stop at the foot of the staircase.
“You okay?” asked her love interest, finally acknowledging her presence.
Megan quickly jumped to her feet, brushing off the filth that clung to her clothing.
“I’M FINE, ASSHOLE.” She hissed. Then she grabbed her things, and with another flick of her ponytail, she dissapeared into the crowd.
I gasped, not quite able to comprehend what I had just seen. The four of us stood in silence as we stared at the place where Megan had landed. It had all happened so quickly; there was nothing there to prove it had happened at all but a small pile of dirt Megan had brushed to the earth.
Pam was the first to speak. She shook her head slowly and sighed, “That Megan.”
I smiled up at her. “She’s A real piece of work.”
And then we threw our heads back and laughed like characters in a sit-com.
I think I’ve finally found the place where I belong, and that place is with middle-aged white women.