When I sit down to write my novels from a teenaged perspective, I have a lot of material to pull from. I was called all sorts of names, teased, and jeered at. I wasn’t the lowest on the totem pole, but I was somewhere near the bottom middle of the middle school pecking order. Yet, through these experiences I learned something about myself. I was a survivor and I was never a follower.
THE LEADING MOMENT
The kids in my neighborhood would spend tons of time making up games. One we played was truth or dare. Usually I wasn’t invited to play because I was the youngest kid in the neighborhood. However, this particular time, they allowed me to play seemed like the best day of my life. I was going to play with the big kids, and no longer follow behind them. That day, nitaworm had arrived, and she was on top of her little world.
THE SET UP
The game went on as usual. Dare’s were made, secrets were told and the bottle spin. Finally, it was my turn. My moment, my acceptance, and then it came. The kid that had made the last spin, looked at me with a sneaky grin, and I knew immediately that I was doomed.
“I dare you to eat this beetle!” the kid said. I gulped. Then I compared the penalty for not going through with a challenge. The penalty was to let every kid spit in your face. The decision was difficult, the choices were both gross. However, I refused to be made to eat something that I didn’t want.
STANDING UP TO MY SO-CALLED FRIENDS
At that moment of recognition, I felt strong and fierce. Ok, no really I was scared to death. However, I stood and said , “I renege on the dare!”. There were gasp, snickers, and whispers. I held my ground, stuck out my chest and licked my lips. “You know what that means don’t ya?” the kid with the dead fat beetle snickered.
“Yeah, and I don’t care!” I said, and swallowed as a tear ran from my eye. Man I was so angry. The other kids bustle to stand in line in front of me. Never before in our game of Truth or Dare had someone challenged their fate. I was the first, and they relished in the chance to demean me further.
There I stood, as each kid gathered as much saliva in their mouths as possible and spit in my face. My eyes closed as I felt the thick, cool, wet globs slide from my forehead, down my nose to my lips. I held back a gag.
Finally, it was over. My best-friend, who was last in line did a fake spitting sound that held little or no power. Then she took out a tissue and wiped my face.
“Why didn’t you just do the dare?" she asked.
“I opened my eyes and smiled at her then said, “Cause I didn’t want to.”