Meeting new people can be hard; especially in high schools. Arriving in the second or third term can make it even harder. Alliances are already forged and a certain satisfaction in the number of “crew” members is reached. Then there is the social hierarchy that separates the cool from the not-so-cool, the pretty from the not-so-pretty, the smart from the “hard workers”, and it goes on and on. High school for some plays a huge role in the way that they see themselves for the rest of their lives. And kids can be really mean!!
So for Lynda, making friends so late in the game was not going to be a walk in the park. Lynda transferred to our school in about the second or third term of grade 9; some diplomat’s kid from Tanzania or something like that. I can’t remember her surname either, hmmmm…
Anyway, after about a week of eating alone at lunch time and trying to be as nice as possible to everyone, a group of girls that comprised of some of the smartest girls in our grade and one of the prettiest, humbled themselves and made space for the new girl in their little “click”.
A short time went by and in an effort to schmooze the “locals”, Lynda decided to throw a party for her upcoming birthday and invite the entire grade to her house. “Of course I’ll be there”, I replied upon receiving my invitation. I also believed that that was the general consensus among my fellow classmates. Obviously there were the select few who considered themselves the “cool”, who would respond with an unenthusiastic “thanks, I’ll try”, never given it a second thought.
Lynda’s excitement was so adorable!! She had a “click” now, and everyone was coming to her party. Imagine the innocent laughter of a baby being indulged by a game of peek-a-boo. Adorable!
The day of the party was inevitably upon us and it was time for me to get ready. I had to be dropped off a bit earlier than the expected time of arrival as per the invite. My mother and her sister wanted quickly to return to the comfort of home, were a crackling fire awaited. In the fireplace of course, I wouldn’t suggest that there was a fire waiting for them outside the door, tapping its feet and shaking its head… crackling in the wind.
Arriving at the diplomatic digs I was met by Lynda at the door, at which point I was taken on a tour. The house had all the regular features of diplomatic residence; the tennis court, the pool, the big yard, all very nice!! Afterwards, we went into the house where I met the parents, the little sibling (or at least I think she had a sibling), the house chef, and the helper, oh and there was a dog involved.
Then as the night began unfolding I started to wonder where my friends were. It was nine o’clock and I was still the only guest. We were in grade 9, we didn’t arrive at parties fashionably late or made “entrances”. Sms-ing my friends it became clearer that there was going to be a huge deficit in the amount of expected guests. What was worse was that it was now time to wish the birthday girl a happy birthday. So we gathered in the dining room were the largest spread of food, desserts and snacks lined each wall of the room. I had never seen so much food in my life!!
I don’t have to tell you how awkward I felt in that room where the only people in the house to wish her a happy birthday was me, mom, dad, the chef, the helper, little sibling(I think) and the dog. Guilt can make you do the strangest things sometimes… after the singing, I opened a pit in my stomach and filled it with as much food as humanly possible. Passed the point were eating is now uncomfortable. Now, if I had not had that KFC streetwise two before I got there I could have made that pit a little bigger. Her appetite, for obvious reasons was nonexistent.
We never really spoke about it but at some point she also realized that nobody else was coming. She would dart on and out of the TV room making phone calls to the group of girls that were supposedly her friends. One by one, each of them had an excuse as to why they weren’t coming; each time coming back a little sadder than the next. To distract ourselves we ended up watching movies on her desktop in the upstairs room. That’s the day I watched “Soul plane” for the first time (good times). I ended up staying until a little after midnight because I felt so bad and I couldn’t leave her on her birthday like that. We did have fun though, well, about as much fun as two 15 year old kids could have at a party meant for about 60 – 80 people.
Lynda ended up transferring schools that same year. I’m not saying that the party was the cause, I’m just saying… High school was tough, and like I said, kids can be really mean!!
Call me Dizzle