chester smith

24 Jun

Sixth grade, was the year I had my first boyfriend. My entire class was reading a story out loud, and when the dialogue called for a character to whistle, I apparently impressed Chester so much that he came up to me after class and said, “You know, you’re a really good whistler.”

The obvious implication of this statement was that he wanted to go out with me.  Which basically meant, at twelve, that we would sit together at lunch, walk to class together, call each other every night, and that now I had to get him a Christmas present.  We also went on one date, where our parents dropped us off at the local movie theater and picked us up immediately after the movie was over.

After two months, I was tired of Chester.  As I have done in all my relationships since, I began looking for a way out.  When Mike C. joined our class in February, I realized I had found my solution.  All the girls in our class had a crush on Mike C.  I actually thought he was kinda lame, but Chester was definitely the jealous type.  He began questioning me suspiciously and incessantly about my feelings for this other man. At first I just denied it, but Chester wouldn’t let it go.  Finally, I told his best friend that it was over.

Chester tried to talk to me about it, and I avoided him for as long as I could.  One day, he finally caught up with me in the hallway, and with tears glistening in his eyes he said, “I just don’t understand what I did wrong.”

I looked at him seriously like the cruel little heartbreaker I am and said, “You know.  Oh, you know.”  I left Chester standing there, devastated by all that he’d lost.

The following day in math class as we were passing up our homework, Chester leaned across the aisle and said, “You’re a bitch.”  His two best friends sat in front of Chester and in front of me.  I was surrounded. They both looked at me and said, “Yeah. Bitch.”

I was completely taken aback. Never in my life had I been called this word, and I felt that tears may be an imminent danger.  I spent the whole rest of the school year avoiding any eye contact with Chester and his friends, though they continued to harass me and call me that horrible B-word.

The following year, Chester changed schools, and I didn’t see him again until our sophomore year in high school, where he suddenly turned up right across the aisle from me in my chemistry class.  All my middle school insecurities returned.  He never said a word to me, but every time he looked my way, or leaned over to retrieve a pencil, I feared he would look up at me and spit, “You’re a bitch.”

He never did. And he approved my friend request.

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