A lot is two words.
Mrs. Orrick hated me. I’m not exaggerating here, she really hated me. She told my mother on Parent Teacher night that she thought I was a bad seed and would never amount to anything. When my mom got home she asked me if I did anything to Mrs. Orrick to make her hate me. I said no, she’s just mean.
It was bad enough that I had to sit in her class an hour every day, but I was an office TA and had to go collect attendance cards from her class every morning. Her door was always locked. I had to wait for someone to open the door. I would have to stand next to her desk while she took roll and filled out the card. Years later I was told by a friend that I looked awkward and annoyed. I felt like the whole class was looking at me and silently laughing because every morning Verne has to stand up under the words “A Lot is two words” which she had printed on the chalkboard all year long. I tried not to make any eye contact with anyone in the room. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.
There was some girl that worked in the office with me. She would sit and stare at me. It felt good but at the same time it creeped me out a little. I felt bad for her. The secretaries would tell her to stop daydreaming about James right in front of me. I blushed every time. I could only imagine how she felt.
I was given the office gig as sort of a punishment. The year before me and some friends forged a teachers name on a library pass. We had to go to the Vice Principals office. She took us in one by one. She told me that she knew I was a good kid and that she suspected that I might be having family problems at home. She said she was going to look out for me and make me work in the office the next year. I figured she was joking.
First day of ninth grade my schedule says Office TA for first period. I walked in and she said “Told you so” I learned to like working there. All the ladies there loved me. They always told how cute I was.
That started to bring me out of my shell. I guess all I needed was an ego boost. I had a girl fawning over me. Years later I found out there was another one. I started making friends. My grades were going up. I even made the honor roll. With the exception of my bully problems with Danny, life was pretty good for a while.
Danny was my own personal bully. We were friends, but one day he decided he needed to beat me. I’m not sure what happened. He would grab me after science class and slam me into the wall, grabbing my shirt and throwing me. I always did the same thing. I stood there. I never moved. I never spoke. He never actually hit me. He would just stick his face inches away from mine and just yell, shoving me harder into the wall.
This got to be a routine. Every day after fourth period I would get shoved around. He’d stop and I would follow another group of bigger kids to lunch. A few months of this I started to get tired of it. I knew he wasn’t ever going to do anything. It became an inconvenience more than anything. I’d get shoved, follow the kids, go to lunch and stare at my crush for a while. Hoping she didn’t see Danny shoving me around and thinking I’m some wimp. He started flattening my bike tires. Every day I would go get my bike and the tires were flat. Fuck Danny, I got on my bike and rode it home anyway. I’d patch the tires and he’d flatten them. My mom told me to tell the principal. I tried to tell her how that would make things worse.
Eventually he stopped. He got a girlfriend and started ignoring me. She was a nice girl. I couldn’t figure out what she saw in this asshole. I guess it was that he was a bad boy.
High School started and I never saw him again.