a time when you were reluctant to go home.
When I was in middle school, I took the Lord’s name in vain because big, fat loud-mouthed Laura, whose locker was next to mine, yelled into my ear. I had yet another case of strep throat, my head was already throbbing, and my ears ached from the drainage. She literally put her mouth next to my head and yelled down the hall to her boyfriend, tall, skinny, loser-boy Ivan-Covered-With-Hickies. So I turned to her and screamed in her face, “Jesus Christ, Laura. Shut up!”
My school had just started cracking down on “cursing” with Joey L. being the first victim. He straight-faced told our principal to fuck off. He got paddled. And never shed a tear. I had to sign the referral and made the Amazon on my cheeks. I cried so hard the neck of my sweater got wet.
I know it seems like a ridiculous thing to be afraid of going home because I took the Lord’s name in vain, but I was. I was afraid because of one simple phrase repeatedly uttered by my mother, and sometimes agreed upon by my father: “If you get in trouble at school, you better know you will get in just as much trouble at home. Maybe more.” I was terrified of the maybe more. I wasn’t even sure what punishment the school would dole out to me, but I knew whatever they could possibly come up with wouldn’t compare to the punishment in store for me from my parents.
The next day, I got called down to the office. I have always had a knack for unfortunate timing, and this was no exception. A few Sundays before had been confirmation Sunday at my church. This detail wouldn’t even matter where it not for the fact that my principal happened to go to Grace United Methodist Church as well.
“Young lady,” I loved it when adults called me young lady, “Can you tell me why you are here?” So much like a police officer, my principal looked down his long dumb face at me.
“Well, I said Jesus Christ in the hallway upstairs.” I had never been one to mince words. I did it. I admit it.
“You didn’t just say Jesus Christ, you screamed it.” He sat there smugly tapping his finger tips together. “Weren’t you just confirmed a couple fo Sundays ago?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t see—”
“That has everything to do with this,” he bellowed, “What do you think He would think of this?”
“He would forgive me?” I countered.
“Are you sassing me?”
“No, I just thought Jesus was about grace. I already prayed about it. I think he forgives me.” I think saying this was a two-fold device: I could potentially get out of trouble, and I could slyly let the principal know that whatever punishment he could give to me would not compare to my own mental and spiritual anguish. I think it was more of the former.
“Well, nonetheless, you will serve one day of in-school suspension. You serve on Friday.”
EDIT: This is the beginning of the draft. I will write more later.