I USED to think it was funny identifying people by their physical characteristics. My best friend in high school was “mushroom head” because of his haircut, my social worker was “big, fat, hairy man” and Maggie Olde was the “fat chick” in my Year 5 class.
It’s my second day at a new school and Tahlia Connor and I have been going out for 24 hours. I don’t have an endearing nickname for her yet, no “red head giant” or “freckle face” or “no-soul Tahlia”. But it would only have been a matter of time.
If Tahlia hadn’t decided to dump me.
I don’t really care. I remedy my woes by playing soccer at recess and lunch.
But halfway through lunch Maggie Olde and Tahlia Connor walk up to me. “We need to chat,” they said.
“I want to go out with you,” Maggie said.
“Take me back,” Tahlia said. “Please?”
I look at Tahlia. I look at Maggie. Now they both freak me out.
“You must choose one of us,” Tahlia said.
What? That’s not a choice.
“I’ll fight for you. What do I have to do to go out with you?” Maggie said.
I don’t want to do this. Can’t they at least fight each other for my hand? It would be a fun recess, I wouldn’t have to choose, and it would be flattering.
But I don’t want to go out with Maggie because she’s fat. I don’t want to go out with Tahlia either, because she is taller than I am and she has freckles.
“I can’t choose,” I said. “I’ll hurt your feelings. And you Tahlia! I trusted you and I can’t do it anymore.”
In class that afternoon a folded piece of paper is passed to my desk. It’s from Maggie. “I’ll wait for you,” the letter said.