There was no bus stop, NO long gravel driveway to walk down. I would be walking to my second new school in Florida. My mother and her boyfriend had moved from Miami, where my grandmother left me off to the current place... Coopertown, FL.I was about to start 4th grade. I was not scared but I was a little nervous. This morning I woke-up to my loud digital clock. I brushed my teeth, washed my face and dressed in pants and a shirt. My hair was a bit of a mess and I wished my mother was awake to help. I tiptoed into the dark kitchen and poured myself a bowl of cereal. I checked the fridge, my mother had not made me a lunch as she had promised, I hoped I could find some loose change in the side drawer near the oven or in the sofa. My mom's boyfriend... lost change there if he did not empty his jeans before he sat down to watch television at night. I finished eating, found some lunch money and wished someone was there to wish me luck... I didn't need luck, I made friends easily, but I was the 'new" kid.
I looked out the window before opening the front door and saw the rain. I had never seen my mother use an umbrella and I wasn't sure if there was one in the house. I would have to walk quickly. The school was just one block down. I made it without being too soaked.
My Homeroom teacher smiled and patted my back as she introduced me to the class, her professional maniure tapping my neck. I sat next to two girls.. they asked to see my paper schedule when the teacher finished her roll call. The school was so much different from my NY school. The trees were planted so close to the building you could see the palm trees from your desk. When the bell rang we had to go outside in an outdoor corridor to the next class. While we walked Amy and Lucy told me where the Cafeteria was and how we would meet there get our food and then eat at the outdoor picnic tables.. I was excited about that.
A girl who looked like she belonged in 6th or 7th grade was walking behind us... the girls whispered... "That's Nancy... She is stuck up." I nodded my head. I had no idea what Stuck up meant... but I thought I did.The next day after school. I had all my new text books and no backpack. The history book was so heavy all by itself. My mother had not gotten me a backpack so I was walking out into the bright sunlight with 5 heavy textbooks... As I followed the long sidewalk from the school campus to the street sidewalk I smelled the smell of fresh cut grass and I heard the grumble of a lawn mower in the distance. I looked further down the road and I saw the whirling of a sprinkler just coming on in a manicured lawn with lush green grass. I wished I could jump in the sprinkler.. I was hot and it was humid already. I was startled by a voice that said," Hey Little Baby got your new books?" I turned quickly to see who had said that... when someone slapped all the books out of my hand. My Spanish and English book collapsed inside out and I feared their bindings would crack. Books were very important to me, and I took good care of them. I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder blade and I was pushed onto the ground. It was Nancy. She began yelling.. at first I could not make out what she was saying.. BUT then I heard her.. "SO baby you think your so funny telling people I am pregnant." I was shocked. I had told my mother about the girls calling Nancy Stuck up. My mother did not seem shocked.. Nothing seemed to shock my mother but I was shocked a 4th grade girl pregnant. I had never met anyone pregnant. I remember asking Lucy and Amy when Nancy's baby was due.. and they just looked at me like they were going to laugh but did not say another word about it. I thought I was gossiping or prying so I left the subject alone. As I lay on the grass and pavement.. I looked up at this girl.. Just then a young man's voice called.." Hey Nancy leave her alone,." I did not recognize the boy. He walked over to me and extended his warm hand.. He helped me up. I gathered my textbooks quickly like a squirrel gathering his nuts. He asked Nancy .. "What is this all about?" Nancy explained the story of how I had told people she was knocked up. What was knocked up?? I was even more lost. Was she pregnant or not. Nancy poked me hard in the should er and told me I will see YOU tomorrow.
It was so humid I could feel sweat drip form inside my shirt, as soon as Nancy walked back toward the school the boy asked me " Why did you tell people she was pregnant? I said I didn't I just asked when her baby was due? He then looked perplexed and said," She is not having a baby she is just a little overweight." Oh, then why did Lucy and Amy tell me she was stuck-up? The cute teenager laughed and said," Stuck up means, something different not pregnant." Oh, NO... what had my naivety gotten me into now.
That night I told my mother what happened and she told me she was going to walk me to school the next day. GREAT, my tight jean wearing, makeup toting, angry face mother was going to get me in further trouble with Nancy.
The next morning all my work to get out of the house without waking my mother came with no avail. There she was stone silent on the sofa, make-up on, hair dried, daisy duke short wearing... mother.
We walked in total silence. We arrived at the school and many kids were still outside. We were a bit early and we were not allowed inside yet. My mom asked me which one was Nancy. I described her hair and shirt and began to plead to my mother not to go speak with her. My mother and Nancy had a stare down and then my mother turned on her pink high heel Candies and walked home without saying as much as a goodbye.While entering the school Nancy leaned toward my ear and told me ... "Great so you sicked your mom on me." I tried to tell her it was my mother, but either she did not hear me or she did not believe me.
The hours ticked by slowly.. I looked in the corridor for Nancy.. I looked carefully when I came out of the hall bathroom. No sign of her. When I left the school at the end of the day.. she was no where to be seen.
When I got home my mother told me we had to walk to the grocery store. We had always taken the car. My mom's boyfriend had the car and we were out of groceries. We walked 3 miles there and 3 miles back.
ON our humid walk .. men leered from there car window to whistle or honk at my mother. We finally went
down a quiet neighborhood that was connected to the grocery store. I saw a girl pushing her brother on the swing.. the girl looked familiar. I looked again.. IT was Nancy. I froze.. my mother told me to walk faster.
We got to the store and I dreaded the walk back... The walk seemed endless.. But Nancy was not outside she was no where to be seen, unless she was on her second floor peering out of a window.
We unloaded the groceries and then I neglected my homework and my teeth and went to bed, without my dinner.
I dreamed in my bed...
I dreamed Nancy and I were friends and she was laughing with me and joking...
The next morning my mom awoke me to tell me "that girl is at the door" I will be here if she starts to fight you... My mother whispered.. she told me you called her pregnant.. did you think stuck up was the same as knocked up..?. I hung my head. Nancy stood at the door of my house, she had flip flops on , shorts and a red and white bathing suit. She told me " I thought she was your sister.. she's your mom... She's cool." Do you want to go swimming? Your mother said we could go in your pool?... I said.. Sure.. let me brush my teeth and get my suit on. This began my unusual friendship with the humid bully...from Florida.