I met Wynn the first day of eight grade in the girls bathroom. If I had to describe her to you I would tell you she was unlike anyone I had ever known. She was short, blonde, with round deep blue eyes, and little wrinkles around her lips from constantly smoking cigarettes. I was the new kid at this middle school . Second period had just ended, and I ducked into the bathroom for a quick smoke. I know smoking in the eighth grade boo, hiss, yet pretty common back in the day. We lived in a tobacco growing state, and a pack of cigarettes cost 65 cents. Smoking was not viewed as negatively, in fact most people barely gave it a second thought. Wynn was sitting up in the window, legs crossed blowing smoke rings into the air. She had perfected the “fuck you look” and she flashed it at me the moment we made eye contact.
I was quite use to this look after all this wasn’t my first time being the new kid. I was a military brat, but this was my first time outside of a military base school system. For the benefit those of you who were not military brats raised on a military base, mainstream public schools are a lot different. Especially in the deep south where both the people, and the atmosphere seem to run at a much slower pace. I didn’t know that Wynn was also a military brat whose father had retired in this sleepy little southern town, but she seemed to know that I was.
The other kids in this school knew that I was an outsider as well. I’m not sure if they picked up on the military thing, but they absolutely knew I wasn’t from their town. Being a small town, most of the kids in this school had grown up together since preschool. They all shared a thick “twangy” southern accent, and a mistrust of anyone else not raised in their town.
The school was divided into four main groups. The largest group was the African-American kids most of them had been born, and raised in this town. They weren’t very eager to share friendships with the second group of southern born and raised white population in town. The third much smaller group were the wealthy more privileged white kids often referred to as “The Preps.” Then the fourth group of kids were known as the outsiders. Many of us were children of retired military families, and some were just kids who had moved here from somewhere else.
Wynn continued to stare at me. I think she was curious as to why her perfected “fuck you” look had not made more of an impression on me. I told her she should take a picture it would last longer. (Oh I forgot to mention in addition to early smoking being a smart ass equipped with lame little sayings was also a sign of the times-very cool lol) She responded by saluting me with her middle finger. Smirking I asked her if that was her age or her I.Q.? (yes I known your even more impressed by my coolness) She laughed this time climbing down from the window, this time actually saying fuck you. Hold on here’s the point where I really blow you away with my coolness. I say “No thanks your not my type.”
An just like that one of the most significant friendships of my life was born. She asked me “If I had, had enough school for one day?” I nodded, then she called me out on my seemingly bad- ass behavior, and said “Then let’s get the fuck out of here.” I knew in that moment I had no intention of backing down no matter what the consequences would be for cutting school. I felt a rush of excitement. A combination of fear, and excitement. Something I had never felt before, and I liked it! What I didn’t know was that was the day my childhood died, and a juvenile delinquent was born. 😉