I graduated 10 years ago. Class of ’03. I’ve tried to put high school out of my mind. I had a horrible time.
I was the chubby girl; pimples, weird hair, too tall, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. There was one girl in particular who made sure to point out all of my flaws and announce them to the world. This girl was what you would consider a stereotypical mean girl. She was blonde, curvy, and pretty attractive. She was a “good Christian” girl that, coincidentally slept her way around the school’s male population.
I don’t know why she did it, but she really had it out for me. That girl was the reason why I cried myself to sleep some nights. She was the reason I made myself throw up dinner once or twice. She was the reason why I wanted to transfer schools.
Senior year, she had it all together and I was a mediocre student headed for community college. She was on her way to a big private university.
When we graduated, I managed to get admitted to a local state university. I pulled myself together and lost a few pounds. I grew into my awkward height. I graduated in ’07 with a degree in Human Resource Management. I’m now working with a great company and going back for my Masters soon enough.
This morning I stopped for breakfast with my fiancé, and our waitress was that girl. She had gained quite a few pounds. In fact, I didn’t even recognize her until she started the conversation with, “Hey, didn’t we go to school together?” Yeah, we did, bitch. You ruined it for me.
But I just smiled and carried on a pleasant conversation. She told me that she went to that private school but dropped out a year later. She got pregnant and had two kids. She’s taking online classes to get a degree in teaching. She works two jobs. Single mother. I went through the motions and told her that that all sounded nice.
When it was time to go, I debated on tipping her or not. Inside, I couldn’t believe it had turned out the way it had. My mom always used to tell me that in high school, the people that think they’re “all that” end up with the short end of the stick. I never believed it, but it actually happened.
I ended up leaving her a $10 tip. I’m by no means “OK” with what that girl did to me, but I shouldn’t punish her for it, either. That makes me no better than what she did to me. I can tell she’s tired. She has a family. I secretly hope her children have a good life. I hope their mother finishes her degree and doesn’t have to be a waitress anymore.
I forgive that girl I knew in high school. Because, let’s face it, high school sucks ass. We all grow up at some point.
All the best to you, sweetie.