by Alaina Brown
You went to an elementary school named after a farm and after that it was onto a Middle School named after a famous American Indian who ended up dying at the age of 22 in a place far away from home which is in a nutshell how you feel going into that building named after that American Indian and inside that building you learn about that American Indian among other things you suspect you’ll never need again like integers and Earth Science and after that you go to gym class where you have to wear uniforms that look terrible on everyone and the shorts are made of some material that are staticky and wedgie-inducing but fortunately you have an old pair of gym shorts that used to belong to your older brother and they are thankfully made of a breezy and normal kind of cotton so even though they are puke green and have some paint stains on them you are very comfortable and wedgie-free while you do your best to not participate in a game of modified dodgeball that makes little sense to you and you mull over how little sense it makes back in the locker room which smells like grassy tennis shoes and mustard and adolescent girls who don’t know yet about deodorant and everyone changes into their street clothes and feels awkward about their bodies except that one girl who’s already wearing slutty underwear and additionally has been blessed with lustrous hair and full lips but next to her is that girl who went to the Grand Canyon over the summer and when she did she tried to pierce her own belly button but the jewelry fell out and her stomach turned green like the skin was dying and next to that girl with the dying skin is the girl who wears her brother’s old clothes and carries razor blades in her front right pocket and next to razor girl is the girl with stretch marks on her side and a strip of pink in her greasy hair and next to her is the girl who has her shit together and makes you an artsy birthday card and tapes a chocolate bar to it which you are genuinely touched by even though you two are not really that good of friends because you don’t speak to anyone because it’s Middle School and it seems like people walk through the halls and sometimes stumble into each other but never speak even if you are carrying what is clearly a birthday card and maybe someone decorated your locker too and covered it with bubbly wrapping paper that doesn’t match your personality at all and your best friend put so much candy in it that your textbooks aren’t going to fit in there and even though it’s a really nice gesture by your friend you feel like you’re making a scene trying to make room for all your shit and this kid named Andrew who has the same last name as you is waiting patiently because his locker is below yours and you are very much in the way but he’s a nice guy and you have history with him anyway because back in first grade you sat across from him and you two would race to see who could finish those math worksheets with the blue borders first and you two were a pretty even match but not everyone in middle school is as nice as him because most people are too busy being awkward or trying to find some semblance of individuality like that one girl who might be Hispanic or something and she’s in the grade above you and has been in a wheelchair for a week but you’re not sure why and she only wears black clothes especially if they have chains on the pants and maybe she thinks wearing chains on her pants gives her reason to run over people’s toes in her wheelchair and then not say sorry because she did that to you and just looked at you like you were wrong for standing there and existing at all and then there’s that girl from Canada who has a common name but spells it strangely and when she first came from Canada she wore t-shirts with classic rock bands on them and one you remember in particular was The Rolling Stones but then she started wearing American Eagle polos and bright clothes the way that most of the cool kids do but she moved away to Germany after not too long and after she left someone told me she was twelve when she lost her virginity and had to have a lot of abortions but maybe none of that’s true but what is true is that on the very first day of Middle School you met this boy who had long flippy hair like all the other boys because if you were a boy at that time there was really no point to having hair at all unless it was going to be long and flippy and this particular boy was the king of the long and flippy hair and the first time you saw him he was wearing a red polo and he was nice but didn’t want people to know and for that alone you had a crush on him for a long time which was stupid and you knew it because he was that guy who had been living under girls’ skirts since fourth grade and he also went to rehab for who the hell knows what and walking behind and through and around him are the masses which is made up of all those bony faces and bony bodies that haven’t figured things out yet and those faces and bodies are sporting fashion choices that their owners will indubitably regret in a few years to come and there is that couple who has already promised themselves to one another and gave each other rings even though everyone else knows they’ll have a fight over the summer and break up but they hold hands in the hall anyway and sometimes they make out in the hall and the teachers standing out in the hall make faces about it but don’t do anything and you wonder if it’s because they’re more worried about that girl who cut her hair short and wears white jean shorts that don’t cover any part of her thighs and your friend who is popular and is therefore a good source says that the girl wearing very little shorts let her ex-boyfriend finger fuck her in a room full of people which you think is a relatively strange thing to do and there’s also you in the corner wearing your older brother’s striped purple tie on top of a t-shirt because one of your good friends talked you into “Casual Thursdays” but thankfully that only lasts for one Thursday and there is also that one science teacher who always looks at you strangely and you don’t know why but you hate it and her last name is Badewitz so people obviously call her Badebitch because she is in fact a bitch which is all very unfortunate as well as the fact that she is shaped like a pear and she has that voice like she doesn’t even have lungs at all only smoke and she teaches Biology and in that class you sit next to a boy whose father died a long time ago from a heart attack or maybe a stroke and the boy who sits next to him has one of those names that you can never hold in your ear for more than a minute and he tells the fatherless boy that if one of his parents died, he would be so sad he would just kill himself and at the end he snort laughs as though that makes the whole thing less heavy but you think it’s pretty insensitive to tell someone that they should maybe be dead but Middle School is insensitive that way and that boy with the forgettable name doesn’t know he’s sitting across the table from a dead girl because he’s sitting across the table from you and you are also missing a parent and you want to ask this nameless boy how it feels to sit at a table with two ghosts because that is just what he is doing and at the end of the school year everyone will go away for the summer and some of them move away and you never see them again and Ms. Badewitz who taught you about mitosis but not a whole lot else becomes one of those people that disappears in the summer because she moved to a beach in North Carolina or maybe it was the southern Carolina and and and there was this other teacher who was the opposite of a pear shaped science teacher and her last name was Rumford and she was fresh out of college and she taught English and she had short blonde hair and a face to die for and you never had her but you kept hearing about her because she was that teacher that all the boys tried very hard to be around and they probably sat in class while she explained about gerunds and transitional writing words like additionally, naturally, and therefore, and while she was explaining all that those sitting boys were probably thinking about her white breasts spilling out a little over the top of her shirt and it got them all hot and bothered underneath their thirteen year old skins and they probably turned red when she asked them to explain what second person point of view means which is something you know about and it might even be your favorite point of view but the hot young teacher doesn’t know that, what she does know or rather who she knows is that new gym teacher whose last name is Dow which is pronounced like Dao which is a Chinese word meaning “the way” and you think that’s funny because no one in a Middle School knows anything at all about the way but maybe a man named Dow knows something because rumor has it that he’s dating that hot young English teacher and it’s all very scandalous and taboo and also mysterious because Miss Rumford is young and beautiful and even though Mr. Dow is also young and has shapely legs, his face makes you think of an iguana and not in a good way, the way his nose is pulled way out and his lips seem to be in the wrong place and his Adam’s apple bobs more than you think is healthy but maybe you don’t know much because you’re still just that girl in the corner who’s never dated a hot young English teacher with a last name that is forty percent alcohol which of course is an infinitely cool way for a last name to be which makes you think of those three girls who came to school one day with their water bottles filled up with alcohol which you guess they thought was a cool idea because you heard them brag about it during gym and you don’t really even know anything else about them except that all three girls play softball and one has fucked up teeth and you’ve never been drunk before so you don’t know how people can drink just plain alcohol anyway and you had another class on the other side of the school and not close to the gym at all but in that class there was this one Algebra teacher whose last name was Petrie as in dish and you know she has a son your age even though you’ve never seen him and you don’t want to because Mrs. Petrie has these doughy under-eyes that make you think of old people with Alzheimer’s and she also wears these pants with elastic bands and she pulls them up way too high so that they rest just under her boobs and while her pants are creeping up to her chin you’re sitting there in the corner of a classroom trying to quietly unwrap a pink Starburst while also reading the fifth Harry Potter under the table which is not actually that easy to do because the book is very thick and it’s hard to fit it between your thighs and the table and still be able to flip the pages but you think this is all necessary because even though you know the teacher knows you are not paying attention but instead reading under the table it’s important to put on a show of feigned subtlety even though Middle School is not about feigned subtlety but more about aggressive audacity like something you could find in graffiti on the bathroom walls in Sharpie and in this one bathroom that you know about that’s right in the Middle of the School someone has written the word SLUT in spiky violent handwriting probably because it seemed like the only thing to do at the time and you look at these angry letters while you pee and you think the whole process of peeing is strange and funny the way you put your butt where lots of other people have put their butts and your pants are around your ankles and yellow liquid is shooting out of you and making a hiss sound and while you are thinking about this ritual of peeing you see that underneath SLUT someone else has written a recommendation which is to use a witch to hunt witches and you don’t really know what that means but it seems very profound and it makes you think of yourself chasing around a replica of yourself which you think is also sort of like staring in a mirror which is what you do while you wash your hands in that SLUT bathroom and behind your own reflection is this girl who has white and black hair that looks like it has been layered with dirt and hair gel gunk and non-showers and you also had an art class together and there was this one art project in particular and you used oil pastels to draw a burning forest with nothing but blacks and browns and oranges and ambers and the girl with skunk hair drew a jellyfish and hers was nothing but whites ands silvers and periwinkles and pale blues and even though these two things have none of the same colors they both glow and light up a little and that is something you probably both like about art and outside that bathroom in the Middle is a cafeteria and in that cafeteria is a teacher walking around making sure kids don’t blow up Ziplock bags with air and then sit on them so they make loud fart noises and that teacher lives in your neighborhood and used to have breast cancer and that teacher walks by this girl who likes to sit on the end of things so she is sitting at the end of a cafeteria lunch table and she is laughing with two other friends who are both people she has known for a long time and even though she is laughing she is also bleeding through her jeans at the ankle and that pale damaged denim is turning a weeping red and she doesn’t even notice and at the table next to the girl on the end is a boy with thick dark hair that is always hanging in his eyes and he frequently says insensitive things and never seems to grow into his pants and he has this peculiar way of walking like he’s holding a bowling ball between his two legs and when he smiles he does it only on one side of his face and a few tables down from there is a kid named Chris who lives at the end of your street and has autism so he can’t talk but sometimes he has seizures instead and that happened one time on the bus and he fell into your seat and his eyes rolled back and his lips turned blue and white bubbles came out of his mouth and this is happening while the bus driver Ms. Weeger is right in front of you and whistling along to the song on the radio which is probably Green Day because that’s something Ms. Weeger likes and you tap her on the shoulder to let her know that Chris’s head is in your seat and having a seizure so when the bus gets to school they evacuate everyone out the back except you and later the guidance counselor keeps asking you if you are okay because she thinks you aren’t but you tell her that you’re fine and you mean it and someone else in that cafeteria that you think maybe needs to the see the guidance counselor is that girl who wears the same pink shirt every day and someone once saw that same girl put her hand down her pants in Spanish class and you think that’s a bit gross and next to that girl is the girl with stretch marks on her side and a strip of pink in her greasy hair and all around the tables have to wait their turn to go get food because if they all go at once they might bite each other like animals and they line up to eat their fake fries with orange cheese on it or a blue slushy or a chicken patty that probably isn’t made of chicken and there’s that one girl with sharp collar bones who chews up her food then spits it out because she wants to look like Charlize Theron and you think you’d rather just look like you because there are things that worse than being fat and also things that are better than being skinny like this bag of Triscuits that you brought for lunch in your little brown paper bag and maybe that puts you on edge because everyone else has those blue plastic trays that they stack up at the end of lunch and what you do instead is throw your paper bag at the trash can like it’s a basketball and you usually make it but sometimes you don’t and when you don’t you just leave it there because you don’t think it really matters too much and then this cafeteria takes you away to some halls which have concrete blocks for walls that always seem like they are shrinking and making those halls get skinnier and skinnier until they are starving and this skinniness makes all these kids rub up against one another without feeling it and there are the kids who talk very loudly about their problems probably because they lack attention from their parents and those kids are also probably the ones who cuss loudly because they think that makes them precocious and there are the kids who don’t ever look up from the green and white tiles and the kids who have always had braces and probably always will and there’s the boy with the lip ring that’s always bleeding and his friend with the scary eyes who is always in lunch detention and the girl wearing her brother’s yellow t-shirt who gets in trouble for skipping and wearing headphones in the halls which are two things that are against the rules and there are the boys who walk like they think they know something so they ignore a lot of people except for the other boys who think they know something and the girls who pull their skirts up and follow those boys around and that last little group is what Middle School thinks is cool even though you don’t think it’s very cool and you think you might be a good authority because you are that girl who wears her brother’s clothes and is in the corner which is by definition on the edge so you can see a lot of things and what you see is a place named after an American Indian who was really only ever a girl (like you) and the place feels like it is right in the Middle of an aneurism and you wish you could reach out to all the children who think they are adults who are making up the little blood or brain bits of that aneurism and you wish you could tell them something that would make them grow into their ears or make them stop slamming their lockers when they’re angry or make them say hello and hi and how are you and my name is fill in the blank to someone they’ve never met before and you wish you could go up to that girl in the corner and push her away from the edge so that maybe when you do that the headphones will fall out of her ears and the razors out of her pocket and she’ll look someone in the face and feel like solid ground is as interesting as being on the edge even if it isn’t.
Being in middle school for 3 years has changed everybody. It made some strong and some stronger, some just lost it and switched schools. They couldn’t deal with the pressure middle school had to offer ,but it wasn’t the teachers, the tests or trying to find your classes, it was mostly just trying to “FIT IN”, and also finding out that who you are kinda affects what people think about you, but for some people they didn’t care about what people thought, they just focused on trying to find that one “special person” but to some peoples realization its to early to find love right now, but other people have different opinions and they disagree. Middle school for some people may have been fun at first but once they got used to it, it changed. People learn a lot during middle school like for my experience , I found out that best friends are the people that actually care about you and even the friends you’ve known your whole life, that doesn’t matter all that matters is how they are at being a friend. Middle schools the time for people to start to grow up from elementary and start maturing a little. My parents always tell me “enjoy being a kid while it lasts” and I would just encore it and all I wanted to do was grow up and get out of here and travel the world an just be an dependant women on my own, but now I realize why my parents told me that, once I saw my parents come home late from work and seeing them all tired ,then I realized its not so fun being an adult because you have to work really hard for something you want and once you have a family of your own its not always going to be about you anymore, you have to focus on being a parent , and that pretty much sums up being an adult, but what do I know I’m not an adult ..yet . Well middle school has changed my life, and made me realize a lot of things, It mite not have been the greatest experience of my life but I learned a lot and learned a lot from my mistakes so I wont make them again in the future but I don’t know...