the one elementary school friend

 

When I was a kid, I had just one school friend during my elementary school age years. She was fun to be with cuz she was pretty conversational, even though I was always a bore to be with. It was she who had asked me why I colored the way I did. That musta been in 1st or 2nd grade then.

da friend: “Why you colorin’ like that?”

me: “Like what?”

da friend: “Why do you have to outline the picture before you color the inside of it?”

me: “Um…cuz I like to…”

Then I looked from my coloring sheet to hers, and back again. Oh. Being the non-sharp kid that I was, I had thought that everyone had colored the same way I did. I didn’t realize that outlining a picture that I needed to fill in with the crayon of my choice was an odd move on my part. After her comment, I thought, Great. Now I’m wierd, even at coloring too.

Once in awhile, I would visit her at her home apartment. It was at least 3 blocks away and I had to dodge and sprint from a number of boonie dogs along the way. Unbeknownst to her, my gettin’ there was a life and death experience every single time.

Her family lived on the 3rd floor of their apartment building. Even though I was an overall healthy kid then, the walk up to her 3rd floor unit seemed like a workout for me. Maybe it was cuz the staircase was really dusty and the steps themselves seemed taller than elsewhere. I was huffin’ and puffin’ all the way up, as I wondered how the heck her parents carried groceries up all those steps to their unit.

 

Among our family photo albums is a photo of the sis and me at this friend’s apartment, celebrating one of her birthdays. I remember how the friend’s Mom had asked me to come on a certain day later in the week, cuz it was that friend’s birthday, and the Mom was gonna throw a party for her.

The reasons why her invite had surprised me was cuz:

1) I had never had a birthday party thrown for me as a kid.

2) The parents never gave the sis and I a birthday cake ever during our childhood. I believe it wasn’t until I was around 24, when the sis had bought me a cake. The Mom was living with her at the time, so it was the two of ’em and a cousin who was with us, as I blew out my one candle to celebrate my birthday with ’em that day. I just about choked up in happiness cuz it was the first time I had ever received a cake from the fam.

On the day of the friend’s birthday party, the sis and I had dressed up in the only one dress that we each owned. So we were in our bestest outfit for that party. As we sat patiently on the couch, we looked around at the apartment. It looked the same. The only difference was, the table now had a birthday cake still in its box, paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins laid out on top of it.

The sis and I sat in silence as we waited. The friend’s Mom was busy at the kitchen, cutting up some fruit, I believe it was. After some time had passed, the sis and I had come to realize sumthin’: that we were the only guests present at this party. I wondered if the friend’s Mom had invited others, but perhaps they couldn’t make it.

After waiting for more than an hour, the Mom decided to break out the cake, and the “party” was gonna begin. We ate the cake and we chatted some, as the Mom asked us a few questions of how we were, how our parents were, and that kind of thing. The whole party was so awkward, that the sis and I couldn’t wait to make our exit, and to make our walk (sprint from them boonie dogs) back to our home.

 

That friend and I were just school friends. We didn’t really hang out much together, except for my stopping by to her home, which was like once a month or so (when I could brave myself enough to make the dangerous dash to there). We never went to the movies together, cuz the parents didn’t allow for the sis and me to ever do fun stuff like that until we were in our high school years.

So when I had gotten lice from that friend, I couldn’t believe it. Yup, lice.

Ever since I had known her, she had lice in her hair. I could see the itty-bitty white thingys sticking here and there in her hair. Especially when we were outside during recess time, cuz the bright sunshine outside had shown ’em ever so much more clearly.

Nobody ever told me they were contagious. That they were live critters that could hop from her head to mine sometime in the future, even though we never did anything together that “closely”. No science lab classes for us to butt heads as we looked into microscopes together. No sleepovers to share pillows on our heads together. None of that closeness ever.

So when I suddenly kept feeling a major urge to constantly itch my hair, like I’d seen her do so often, I knew without a doubt that them white thingys had somehow made a transfer from her head to mine. And before long, the sis had gotten it from me too.  Oy!

Well, neither of us told our Mom. Dunno why we didn’t, but my guess is cuz we thought that she might give us a clobbering for it too. And sure enough, as soon as our Mom realized that the sis and I were itchin’ our heads more often than is natural to do, she went ballistic. The Mom grabbed the both of us by the hair, and pushed us towards the middle of our home livingroom. (Lookin’ back at that moment now, she shoulda pushed us outside the house for what she was gonna do next.)

The Mom left us there as she went to go get whatever she was gonna get in another room. Needless to say, the sis and I were freakin’ out, expecting her to go get a bigger weapon than her fists to whack us with. But even worse than a stick, the Mom was comin’ back holding what we didn’t expect. It was a can of Raid.

As she smacked our hair from left to right, she sprayed that full can of Raid into both of our heads thoroughly. I tell ya, the inside of our house musta been smokin’ to the ceiling with that chemical spray.  What I recall the most about that moment was of how I couldn’t breathe. It was obvious the Mom was grossed out that we had them critters in both of our heads and she was determined to kill ’em completely, if that was the last thing she was gonna do in her life on this earth.  I was coughing, gagging, and my eyes were sorta burning from the strong pest-killin’ spray. The Mom smacked, whacked, and continued to spray our heads like crazy. She was determined to kill ’em all – and possibly even us, while she was at it.

Thankfully to God, the sis and I had survived that day and we both live to tell the tale of how our Mom had killed every single spec of lice that had been living inside of our hair from a single can of Raid. It had been a painful thought-I-was-gonna-die-for-reals experience and is very much not recommended to any mother out there to do to their own kid who has lice. But our Mom’s terrible (painful and inhumane) method had surprisingly worked thoroughly and our heads had received completely critter-free relief since.

What I had learned from that experience:

If ya hang with someone with head lice, you most surely is gonna get it too. So stay away from that person, until he/she becomes lice-free – even if they might be your only friend. Cuz someday later, you’ll most surely make another friend or number of friends again. Yup.

 

artist:  Aeppol

 

 

 

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