Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Darkest Hour

Dear Maria Shriver,

You have experienced the ultimate betrayal. Your trusted live in nanny, who you treated like family, had an affair with your husband, got pregnant, had his child and then continued to work for you. Your husband, the Terminator, not only was unfaithful but kept this secret from you for years. You have been wronged by someone you thought you knew and trusted. I am not writing to offer up sympathy, although you have mine. I am writing to tell you a little story about my "wronging" and to let you know there is light on the other side of this tragedy. Bear in mind that my story did not take place in the public eye and did not involve a two-timing, Terminator, cheating husband and a pregnant nanny but it did involve being wronged by someone I trusted. Here goes.

It was a cold winter day at Dunbar Middle School (grades 4-6) and I was a wide-eyed 5th grader with a sunny disposition. We had just finished PE class and were bruised and bloodied from a rousing game of dodge ball. Judging by our scars one of two things had happened, either the dodge balls had just been inflated or the gap between those that were developing early and those that weren't was becoming painfully obvious. I was tired and sweaty from running madly in circles trying to escape dodge ball enemy #1: Chris Cowman, fellow 5th grader. As we retired to our respective locker rooms to change back into our school clothes I went to bench where I had placed my wool sweater, bell bottom jeans and saddle shoes. My clothes were not there. I quietly searched around until I asked my fellow classmates if they had seen my clothes. Nothing. So the 11 of us fanned out to search the locker room and adjoining bathroom. Suddenly, a shriek was let out. We stopped and froze. Then a hesitant voice from the adjoining room said, "I think I found them....you better come quick". Racing over I found my classmate standing over the toilet in the 2nd stall. She looked at me almost apologetic as she said, "I think they are in the toilet". My mind was racing. There is no way someone would throw my clothes in the toilet, I mean I was the 20th most popular person in my class of 27. And then I saw them, my clothes, shoved in the toilet. As quickly as I had identified them, the janitor was called to dispose of them, my parents were called to bring new clothes to school and then as if the shame wasn't already enough....... within an hour a school assembly was called. As we filed into the gym, the PE teacher had a stern look on his face. His speech was quick and pointed.  He talked about respecting people's property, about keeping the names of those effected confidential (although I was the only one sitting there in my gym clothes in the middle of winter), about behaving like ladies and gentlemen, and then the promise. And while he promised to find out whoever committed this act of violence I surveyed the gym. I was looking for guilt or remorse on the faces of my trusted classmates. Who hated my clothes enough to put them in the toilet? A friend? An unknown enemy? The new kid? For the rest of the year I was consumed with the "perp" who had to be, due to the small size of our school, someone I knew and trusted. I watched and waited for any slip up pretending the whispers and gossip didn't hurt. But as time went by so did my desire for finding out who had wronged me. Occasionally, mostly November, I think back to that day and still wonder who put my clothes in the toilet. Although, I will probably never know the scars are still there.***

Maria, although you may be experiencing the darkest of times as I did in the 5th grade, you must know that things get better. In the 6th grade, no one threw my clothes in the toilet. Sure I may trust a little less, I may not make friends as easily, and I may change before I go to the gym. I have, however, gone on to live a happy, healthy, normal life and you will too.

Yours truly,

***This story is written to the best of my 5th grade memory.

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