When I was in fourth grade, my mom got me a set of colorful pencils with my name embossed on them in gold (probably from the Lillian Vernon catalog). I took these pencils with me to my new school–fourth grade was the year I made the transition from private school to public school, away from Lexington Christian School to Brookside Elementary in Nicholasville.
On the first day, a redheaded boy asked me if he could borrow one of my pencils.
“Don’t do it!” the other kids whispered to me. “Don’t give it to him!”
Everyone is so mean here, I thought disdainfully. I passed the boy a pencil, proud of myself for being so generous in the face of peer pressure.
Later, I noticed that he had scraped my name off the pencil. So he was the mean one, and all the other kids were right! I felt like a dumbass, but more than that, I was horrified that he would try to steal something I’d lent him!
So, of course, I went and told the teacher immediately. That was just what you did when there was a problem. She made him give the pencil back, not that it made me happy to have a blue pencil with a big gaping wood section where my name should be.
That boy, Anthony Bruner, later became my boyfriend. In fourth grade. Yeah, I dunno. My only real memory of that whole “thing” was sitting in the cafeteria next to Eddie Benedict, my best friend, and having Anthony sitting across from me. He looked at the two of us and said, “That ain’t right.” And I quickly assured him that Eddie and I were just friends.
I’m really not sure why 1) he wanted to be my boyfriend and 2) I said yes. I guess I was just going with the flow.
My love life wasn’t stagnant after that–I ended up dating Mark Kimmel at some point, and rejecting Eddie’s advances in 7th grade. However, the fact remained that Anthony and I had never actually broken up. I therefore remarked to someone in 8th grade gym class that Anthony and I were technically still dating.
This unfortunately opened me up for some serious mocking, as by this point I was no longer the cute(?) transfer student, but was now the weird girl who wore dowdy clothes and talked to walls. (Kids routinely threw food and garbage at me at lunchtime.) For days thereafter, Anthony and his girls kept whispering and looking at me and laughing, and I felt dumb for saying anything. I guess by sharing that “fun fact”, I was trying to recapture that feeling of belonging without trying. Obviously I failed!
I never really thought about the motivations behind Anthony’s pencil-stealing until today, oddly. It occurred to me out of the blue that maybe he took the pencil and scratched off my name because he resented the fact that no one bought him pencils with his name on them. Maybe he thought I was rich, since I had come from a private school–even though nothing could have been further from the truth. Something to think about.
And now, to sit back and wait for the adult Anthony Bruner to happen upon my blog. ;P