This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Note
…I saw a note that Gail wrote
& it says she hates me…
I don’t know if you’re mad at Gail but I am…
When did I first run headlong into notes?
At that awkward will-I-fit-in-say-the-right-thing-avoid-exclusion-at-all-cost stage that characterized my middle school years in the 1960’s.
When successfully passing notes was a prized achievement. A right of passage. If you didn’t get caught.
Notes directed the intense undercurrent of a girl’s ever shifting social hierarchy. They could make or break your day at school.
Scrawled on lined notebook paper. Ripped out of 3-ring binders. Torn into halves. Or quarters. Hastily folded as small as possible. Then..slipped to a friend. Or potential friend. Or some kid sitting at a desk on the way to the note’s intended recipient.
With one eye on the teacher, who with chalk in hand might not turn towards the blackboard as quickly as you think. Who might snatch the wrinkled piece of paper. Which held the potential key to your social future. And then, horror of horrors, read it out loud. So everyone would hear…
Are you mad at me?
Write down yes or no.
Check next to these names…
Do you like them or not?
Or worse, if the note was for you…
From the girlfriends you just had a sleepover with…
We have decided that you are not our type.
Please don’t hang around with us that much.
You can if you want….Every time
we look at you you are reading. I know you
like to but not every second. Don’t hang around
that much anymore.
Elaborate codes were devised.
I’ve always wondered…why? Why did girls jostle for position in such cut throat ways? Which is probably why I saved a few notes for 50 years. Thinking I’d figure it out. I have not. I still have no clue.
Except I am grateful there was no Facebook when I was struggling to fit in. No Instagram. No social media.
Notes would have followed me everywhere.
Day and night.
I can’t imagine.
Notes on wrinkled paper were thrown away. Or stuffed in a drawer.
Only public for an agonizing minute if the teacher recited them in front of snickering classmates.
Then the bell would ring.
And out the door I’d go.