Whitney and Christina wrote recently about their most humiliating moments. I instantly wanted to write about mine but I couldn’t decide which one (of many!) topped the list. I finally settled on two, the second of which I will write about for Mother’s Day for reasons that will become apparent at that time. For today I bring you:
The time I threw up and it was all Amy’s fault
Yep, that’s right, I blame Amy for this one. And she probably has no idea, but she will now.
Humiliating point #1: This story involves puke (I’ll not be too graphic, as I don’t like puke stories much either, but Shannon don’t read this lest you gag)
Humiliating point #2: I was in seventh grade.
Humiliating point #3: I was in front of all my peers. Otherwise it would not be humiliating.
So, it’s seventh grade, as we’ve already established, and I am hanging out with Amy in the lunch/recess/hangout area (too old to call it a playground, I guess by then). Amy hands me something similar to Carmex (I can’t remember the brand, but it was in a blue container) and I smear it all over my lips. I am sure we continue endless chitchat about normal middle school drama, boys, whatever else we talked about back then.
Lunch ends and I head to math class, where I sit in the front row. I hate math class. Even at this point in life I am clearly a right-brained person, and math and me do not get along. Nor do me and Mrs. Black, a short older woman with orange hair and a very intimidating temperament.
Happily, Mrs. Black is absent and we have a substitute teacher, Mrs. Dobbins. She subs a lot so we all know her fairly well, and she is very kind. This day, we have a quiz.
I am sitting quietly in my seat (did I mention it was in the front row?), struggling with my quiz answers. Suddenly I notice the smell of the Carmex, and it seems to be getting stronger and stronger. I decide I do not like this smell much – in fact, it’s almost making me feel a little nauseous. I ignore the feeling, trying to get through this math quiz (does this mean I prefer nausea to math?) and it’s getting stronger and stronger. I rub it off my lips and keep working on equations. I feel kind of weird, and I consider asking for a bathroom pass but I don’t want Mrs. Dobbins to think I’m trying to cheat. After the test, I tell myself and keep working. By the time I realize I have an issue, it’s too late.
Did I mention I was in the front row? And did I mention it was too late?
I throw up – in my hands. And I am mortified. Mortified isn’t a strong enough word, actually, for what I am. I am beyond mortified and I am frozen in my seat, my eyes closed, not wanting to see my desk, not wanting to see my hands, and certainly not wanting to see my classmates.
It feels like forever but is probably only a few seconds before Mrs. Dobbins comes to guide me out of the classroom, gently, toward the hallway.
Anna Klepczynski, one of my close friends during that time (clearly an angel, as she’s willing to admit my friendship on this day of all days), scoots out of her desk and puts her arm around my waist outside of the classroom, leading me to the bathroom. She helps me wash my hands and my hair and my face. She assures me no one even noticed, and I focus on her words and I pretend to believe her even though I know there’s no way that’s true.
She walks with me to the office, tells them what happened with the graceful authority Anna possessed even at age 12, and she insists they call my mother. Then she sits with me until Mom comes to scoop me away from this horrific moment.
And then I’m in the car, away from the classroom and away from my classmates and with my mom, who loves me despite what I’ve done to ruin my reputation from here until eternity.
“I’m not sick,” I announce to her. “It’s Amy’s lip balm that made me throw up, because it stinks.”
Mom looks at me curiously. “You sure do look sick,” she says, noting my pale (yes, even paler than normal) face.
Of course, moms know everything, and I spent the next couple of days sleeping on the couch with a trash can beside me.