Was it Thomas?
Facing the past in a parking lot
October 6, 2004
She was getting out of the mall with her big shopping bags and
trying to stay balanced on those sexy - yet uncomfortable - high
heels and wondering why the heck
she hadn't kept a pair of running shoes in her car to change
That's when she spotted him. Moving around an old Toyota pickup
truck as if searching for something. He was some distance away
but she was almost
sure it was Thomas. With the fiery red hair and short, small frame. It was
who sat behind her in third grade and was always somewhere in the classroom
for the next few years.
It was Thomas she disliked because
he was tough and foulmouthed and didn't know how to treat a girl.
Thomas would try to push her off the swing. He was as hard and
cold as she remembered him that day long ago when she went back
to an empty yard and got hit on by that Italian.
And there he
was, frantically looking around in his car obviously looking for
something he'd lost. Or trying to replace his car mats.
She was having a hard time walking in the stupid shoes, which
go by the name "Jimmy Choo" with a $430 price tag. And she wondering
why the hell
all these years, of all people, she had come to see this short little redhead
that went by the name, Thomas.
Thomas was the one with the hard, blue eyes that were much
older than his years; the only student without anyone to claim
him on parents night. It was Thomas, they said, who had an alcoholic
father and no mother, apparently. It was Thomas who
beat up the new kids, mostly from Iran and Spain and the
She was surprised that he would beat up outsiders until their mouths bled
or their bones ached, when he was an outsider himself.
Thomas who always made her turn her head in disagreement when her
mother would tell their new emigre friends how nice
Canadians were in accepting newcomers.
It was Thomas who broke
the writing trophy she had received for the best essay in class.
It was Thomas who was a lot brighter than he let on but only used
his brain to make
up new swear
words to throw at people - especially the new kids who didn't know how
back. She hated him for it, but in her heart she was also grateful for
not being one of "them". Grateful that her parents
had packed and left a whole lot earlier for her
to be considered
a "new" kid.
When she was new back in kindergarten,
kids were much nicer. It was Thomas who swore more often than he
took in air
and would always serve as an example of what was wrong with
the world, she thought.
It was Thomas who would pull her soft, long hair until she wanted to
scream. And he was the reason why she cut her hair that
summer - even though she told her
It's actually Thomas. As she
puts her things in the back of the car, she wonders whether now, after
all these years, she should give
a damn. He probably wouldn't
recognize who she was.
Anyway, she had done enough walking
in those frigging high
heels. He'd probably just give her a blank stare or spit out a rude word
and have her walk back
angrier then he had ever made her feel when they
She hated him - and he hated her. Even if he did sound different
that last day
when she was moving. Even though she was the only girl he spoke to
- offering mostly swear words. He even emailed her on her
sixteenth birthday when she was in love for the first time
and tasting its sweetness. She never thought twice about writing back,
she did wonder
long time about how he had gotten her email address, or
remembered her birthday.
And it was Thomas who would always get detention
in Madelle's class. Madelle was the teacher she still remembered, like
of a river flowing in early spring.
was him she was approaching now, her feet aching and her mind warm with
all the memories
of those years past and people gone - and yet quite alive and vividly
dancing in her mind.
Yes, it was Thomas.
She walks by slowly - aware of the sound her heels
are making - and reluctantly stoops down to say hello only to have
back and try to win - as
"Hello there! I saw that hair and knew it was you right away. It was getting
hard to look busy. Why did it take you so long to come over?!"
goodbye to spam!