Shared history is incredible because even if you don't remember each event exactly, or at all, if you had a part in any piece of that time and place, you feel connected to it somehow. Connectedness. There's nothing like it.
I shared one such piece of connected history with an elementary classmate of mine named John. John was a year older than me but we were in what our district at that time called a "split class". I think they sold this arrangement to the parents by telling them that some of us were such advanced learners, a.k.a. smart (I don't recall the term "gifted" ever being used back then and I sincerely wish we could scrap its use now.) that we could function in a class where we weren't constantly supervised by the teacher, thus enabling her to teach two entirely different curriculum in one year and in one setting. Looking back, I see this all now as code for, "your kid will sit down, shut up, read the chapter and answer the questions just because someone tells them to do it." While there IS something to be said for that sort of acquiescence in students, I'm pretty sure it's not all that educationally sound.
On to my story.
One day after school, I was walking up the wide sidewalk that connected the long rectangular-shaped buildings which housed the classrooms. Unlike the schools built today, at our school each classroom opened to the outside world. It all seems quite odd to me now. There was no one else around, and I didn't hear John as he came quickly skipping up from behind, kissed me on the cheek, then continued running on. And seriously, I think John's memory of this occurrence probably lasted right up until he reached the other end of the sidewalk or possibly as long as it took him to get home and start rummaging around for an after-school snack.
I, on the other hand, have this occurrence seared in my brain as if laser beams cut it out of steel. You see, I had been kissed by a BOY....a REAL, ALIVE boy. This certainly meant that within the next few months I'd be popping out a little Pammy or God-forbid another kid like John who would run around impregnating innocent 5th grade girls as they made their way home from school.
The first thing I did when I got home was to begin checking my tummy for swelling. I WISH I were kidding you or exaggerating here. I'm not. It was horrific. The fact that I was entirely too nauseous to eat anything for the next three days only affirmed what I knew to be true because pregnant people always felt sick. I'd watched enough "I Love Lucy" to know that kissing is the cause of pregnancy because heck, those two didn't even sleep in the same bed and little Ricky was extremely real and highly annoying with his whiny little voice and incessant banging on that drum of his.
I considered telling my older sister who was 15, but I valued her opinion of me so highly and she'd managed to make it all the way to 15 without getting pregnant. I was so full of shame at having allowed this horrible thing to happen, that I determined that the best course would be to just let them all figure it out on their own. I mean, how long can a 10-year-old realistically hide the fact that a baby is growing in her belly?
As fate would have it, or the fact that being transparent permeates my personality the way Cher's closet brims with hideous designer evening wear, I burst into tears at the dinner table about four days after the kissing incident. Sobbing over my fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans, I blurted out the hideous truth. "John XXXX kissed me!" Feeling certain that I was soon to be whisked away to an aunt's house in faraway Sulphur for the remainder of my gestational period I waited for the reaction of my family.
It was laughter. They laughed.
I was at once relieved and confused. Relieved, obviously, at the fact that I wasn't moving to Sulphur (oh no, that will come much later in life dear under a much different set of tragic conditions). But, confused nonetheless. I mean, how in the heck DID Lucy get pregnant????
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