In the eighth grade, my class took a field trip to the big city -- Memphis, Tennessee. (I was raised in a small Arkansas town on the Mississippi Delta -- pop. 8,081.) We went to see the Catherine the Great exhibit at the convention center. I loved exhibits like this, and I would often linger behind my group to read the postings taped next to each glass case. On this particular trip, I even turned off the recorded guide tour because I felt rushed. *What a dork!* Well, my dorkiness may have simultaneously jeopardized and saved my ass.
While studying one particularly stunning piece of Kate's jewelry, I overheard two girls and a guy standing behind me.
Girls: Is that her? You like her??
Boy: Yeah. She cute.
Girls: (coming closer to me) Hmph.
As they get closer and I glance nervously around, I realize it's me. What?! I'm the one he likes?? I had boys like me before. But not a big city boy! And plus, he was cute!
I had little time to soak in this enviable news, for the next thing I hear is the signature introductory phrase to kick off any decent girl fight:
"She think she cute."
Oh shit. Thing is, they were right! I did think I was cute. In fact, I was certain of it. It was circa 1989 and I was rocking a newly bought imitation rayon purple pantsuit. Plus, Momma had let me wear my shoulder-length hair down! But, the thing was, I thought I was cute. I didn't think that everyone else thought I was cute. And why should my own pride and self-esteem cause them anger? Nevertheless, I had witnessed scenes like this in the halls of OJHS, and I knew they didn't generally end well. Especially when there was a boy involved.
I survey the room and realize that my group has already left that area. However, I also realize that the girls don't know that I hear them. My headphones are still on my ears! They are speaking freely, discussing their plans to kick my ass.
I slyly begin making my way closer and closer to the door, suddenly pretending to care less about Cathy's goods as I nonchalantly browse them. The girls stalk me, from one wall to the next, while the boy just sits back and enjoys the play he's set in motion. (Bastard.) I quicken my pace and get out of the room. They follow. Just as I am about to sweat out my polyester armpits, I break free, spotting my group, and barely stopping myself from all out running.
You know what still grieves me most about the whole incident? There were at least two more rooms full of artifacts that I may never see because of those chicks!
Some five years later I attended college in Memphis. During my years there and on subsequent visits, I have encountered my fair share of girls living in the world of fantasy and imagination. You know, the clairvoyant ones who just know that you "think you cute." The hopeful ones who just wish you would. The prayerful ones who plead, "ooh, just let her ...." These are the dangerous ones. For their minds are made up before you even know what's in yours.
[Editor's note: I'm not really afraid of all Memphis girls. After all, one of my best friends is Memphian. :)]