Way Back in Eighth Grade…

Once upon a time there were two pre-teen girls who were in their final year of middle school.  Their names are Ana and Elena.  The eighth grade opened up a lot of possibilities, especially since their one big goal was to become popular in high school the following year.  Eighth grade was a training ground.  The problem was that Ana was shy.  Elena was more outgoing, more open, and wanted Ana to experience everything together with her.  The first thing she decided to do was to try to get rid of Ana’s shyness.  Of course, Ana was reluctant at first but then decided to go along with a planned excursion for the next day that her best friend already had in motion.

The school’s cafeteria was a huge room that was divided into two rows of about twenty long tables on each side.  The side immediately at the entrance was for students from grades five through seven.  The row of tables closer to the wall was reserved for transitional seventh graders and all of the eighth grade class.  Some seventh grade students were still not quite ready to sit at the ‘grown-up’ table with all the eighth graders, which is the reason some of those students still sat with fifth and sixth graders.  Elena and Ana were in eighth grade now but Ana still wanted to be at the transitional phase; she wasn’t quite ready to be at the grown-up table.  All those cute guys!  All those pretty and popular girls.  The cheerleaders, the jocks, the class smarties…it was all so overwhelming!

The plan was simple.  It was time to sit with the big boys!  The next day at lunch time, Ana met Elena at the cafeteria because she had a test to finish.  Elena was already at the table.  She waved her over to come sit with her when all of a sudden Ana got very nervous.  It was the kind of nervousness that builds with shaking hands, sweaty armpits, heat under the collar, the hair fixing; Ana didn’t want to go anymore but Elena was coming over to get her and lead her to the table.

“Come on!” whispered Elena, grabbing a hold of her arm.  “You’re not the only nervous one you know!”

Ana was surprised to hear that.  Elena was just as pretty as the other girls, the guys were beginning to pay a lot of attention to her, and she was so outgoing.  What did she have to be so nervous about?

She asked her.  “Richard is at the table.”

“Oh,” said Ana.  Elena had a huge crush on Richard and it seemed as if he liked her too.  Every night they would talk about him and wonder what it would be like to be a part of his group.  Now, it seemed, Elena was getting her chance.  Not for Ana, however, even though she, too liked him.  The situation made her even more nervous.  Oh my!  She was going to have a horrible breakdown.  She just knew it but she also didn’t know what to do.

Breathe, she thought.  This is not a bad thing.  She let Elena lead her to the rowdy table full of popular kids and set her tray down.  She opened up her small milk carton and looked around.  Elena was already talking to Richard and she looked happy.  Ana looked around for someone to talk to but opted to eat a little something instead.  She took her fork and ate some mashed potatoes.  As she set down the fork, she accidentally knocked over the gravy bowl which began its decent down the table.  Everyone immediately took napkins to the mess or grabbed up books or purses out of the way.  Oh!  “I’m so sorry,” Ana whispered.  “Be careful, kid.” said a boy, who was wearing the school’s basketball colors.  She looked at no one.

“It’s ok, Ana.” Elena whispered.  “Don’t worry about it.”  Ana looked at her friend and forced a smile.  Then a pretty girl next to her began to talk to her about movies.  Ana was so surprised and happy so she began to tell her about a current movie that she wanted to go see.  Ana then took her milk carton in her hand and, out of long habit, began to shake it.  There were harsh gasps coming from all directions from where she sat and then all was quiet.  Everyone was looking at her.  Ana looked at her hand and then at her friend.  Elena was soaked from head to waist in fresh, cold milk.  Ana had forgotten that the milk carton was already open.

This is an account of a day in the life of Miss Monica Gardea when I was about 13 years old.  I kind of wonder if that is the reason my friend doesn’t really keep in touch with me as much!  LOL!

Have a GREAT day!  Till next time!

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Blame it on the milk!

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