Eddie, I Hate You: Seventh Graders

I’ll be writing for the next month, the last month of my twenty-eighth year, to purge stories from my “romantic” history (inspired by recent abandonment).

In an effort to not be such a bitch, I’m going to protect the anonymity of my past lovers by calling them all Eddie.  I have thereby entitled this series, “Eddie, I hate you”.

Seventh Graders

The Eddies occur in multiples this evening.

I am at my friend’s brother’s Bar Mitzvah.

I am ten years old.

I am not quite Bat Mitzvah age but I have been looking forward to an evening like this. My brothers are both older than me. I have watched both of them dress up, leave in a carpool of fancy children and come home with plastic swag. I have heard about Bar Mitzvahs. The line dancing, the traditional dancing, the old people dancing, the fun. This is the first Bar Mitzvah I have ever attended.

The occasion is being held at my father’s golf club, a mostly (if not completely) Jewish golf and country club located in North York, tucked behind the hostile urban jungle that we all pretend is not there so that we can enjoy the pristine green acreage built to support our social presentations of uptight outfits and fake Hellos. I hate this golf club. Even on regular occasions when I am here with my family it makes me uncomfortable but then, tonight, when I know no one other than a few “friends” who, I regularly feel are not really my friends, I feel particularly awkward.

Tonight, the room is mostly older kids. These are The Seventh Graders.

I am in fifth grade. I have seen the Seventh Graders. They are ordinarily loud, confident, cool. I have met my friend’s brother, the Bar Mitzvah Boy on several occasions at my friend’s house but he has proven to be nothing more than a dick.  I do not like him and my opinion of him sets up a generic fear of his entire grade.

My school is parochial, small, Hebrew and as a result of it’s insularity there is a slimy arrogance shared by each class.  With age, that shared arrogance only exacerbates itself. The Seventh Graders, just one year from graduating, are no longer even within themselves. They have achieved, at this point, the Seventh Grade level of our acculturated egotism. They are just bodies with beliefs.  They hardly have any feelings. They know what they know and they use their shared knowledge against their small world’s humble reality.  Tonight, that reality is here, in this little room with loud music, loud chatter and no one I really know.

I am on the dance floor.

I am dancing in front of the entire crowd.

I am dancing alone.

The music is cool. I do not recognize it but I know it is cool.

There are conversations in the room, hanging over the music. I ignore my instinct to acknowledge that I am alone. I know I am alone. I have been alone all night. I have sat at the assigned table alone. I have eaten alone. I have watched speeches alone. I have watched dances alone. I have watched The Rest Of Them be while I existed alone.

But now, I am dancing.

I am dancing just as a ten year old should when she is alone.

Three boys crowd me.

They are already laughing.

The two boys on either side of me hold me down by my shoulders.

The boy in front extends both his hands and grabs my chest, groping whatever breasts I have, pushing them in at times, doing what feels like exploring my body without any acknowledgement of me or the people around me. He laughs, eyebrows raised, mouth wide open. He lets go.

And then they leave.

I am winded.

There is no music.

There is no floor.

The DJ says something to me, something into the mic.

I leave.

I have had breasts all year. They happened to me in the summer. They have grown mildly. I am mostly just an overweight pre-pubescent whose fat has rounded itself into knobs that resemble breasts. I am not sure about sensations. I am not sure about nipples. I am not sure about the purpose of my body. I just know it has been changing and appreciating itself in a way that I cannot keep up with, that I cannot even see.

Now I have been touched.

I am grotesque, sitting waiting for the night to end on a set of stairs.

A mother asks me what has happened.

She sits beside me.

Her acknowledgement of my existing trauma embarrasses me and I cry.

“I was dancing and some boys touched me here.”

I hear the question “Who” three or four times.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. Seventh Graders.”

A chain reaction of critical seeking occurs. They look for the Eddies.

No one admits anything but now the entire party knows about the friend of the sister who was groped while dancing. Or at least that is what she says happened.

I am driven home early by a mother I do not know.

I run upstairs.

My bedroom is still not the home I want. It has been decorated by my mother in pink, green and cream with large wooden white furniture and hopelessly floral linens.

I hate everything but the window.

I sit on the daybed, looking through the glass but then through the atmosphere, through the time, through the energetic Nos and Yeses, through waves of surreal promises that whatever happened tonight is only the beginning, I can see horrific details and truths and I look through them because I hope that instead of immediately growing into a grim cynic I can sit here and just be ten.

Our naked street stares at me. Glowing circles of protective suburban light promise a timed collapse of their purpose come the morning. I really cry.

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