A letter to my enemy
February 15, 2008 § 1 Comment
I never thought I would say this, but I am sorry.
There are lots of things I remember about you, about our time in elementary school together. I remember how the girls would flock around you at lunchtime, and how you always got the best trades. I remember your iron grasp of the playground, how you delegated who would have what role in which game. You made me a babysitter, instead of a mother, and you gave my favorite doll to another girl. I remember the time you wrote a racist note in my name and gave it to the teacher. I hated that you were in the advanced spelling group with Jack and I, and that you copied his homework every morning on the bus. I hated that he let you.
You contaminated me; made me a carrier of some social disease the other kids wouldn’t risk catching. But it wasn’t just me. You spread the rumor that Elizabeth was a lesbian, when nobody even knew what that meant. And I remember that she let you comfort her when she was crying in the bathroom. You ran circles around them, like a sheepdog.
One day I was sitting on the concrete with some younger girls and I saw you approaching from across the playground. You had an army fanning out behind you. Whenever I hear the phrase “flight or fight,” I think of this moment. I started walking away, but you caught me. You asked me why I was talking shit about you behind your back. All I can remember is looking past you into that army of excited eyes.
I hated you, Caroline. I reserved that word, hate, just for you. I would never forgive you, or even pity you. You would get what you deserved.
Now I have started to remember different things about you. I remember that shitty little house you lived in with your four younger brothers and your adopted cousin. I remember when we got to high school and no one cared about you anymore. I remember when you started hanging out with that coke dealer, and when you dropped out of school. I remember later, in college, when my friends called excitedly to tell me they saw you, and you were pregnant. I remember when they called to say you were pregnant again. I remember when your baby sister died in the fourth grade.
I don’t hate you anymore, Caroline.