(About three years ago, WP had a daily prompt where bloggers were encouraged to write a fictitious post about an event in our life that troubled us and for which there had been no resolution. The “fictitious” part was about how we would like it to get resolved. I was digging through some old posts and thought I would share this again.)
I hope you enjoy it. The fictitious part if the elevator scene. The rest is true.)
“Today I was stuck in an elevator. That was bad enough considering I’m claustrophobic. But when the well-dressed woman in front of me turned around, I was mortified. She wasn’t someone I ever wanted to see again.
It’s not what she did to me, it’s what I did to her. That was the worst part.
When we were in high school, she was my friend which considering she was very popular and the local beauty queen, puzzled me in the beginning days of our friendship. I figured she was playing with me and that eventually I’d catch on that it was all a big joke. But nope. We remained friends. Maybe it was because underneath her charming appearance she was just like me. From the wrong side of the tracks.
I was the only person ever invited into her home. After the first visit, I realized why. Her mother was an alcoholic. Her father had vanished years ago. The place was a mess. Her mother was a waitress and did her best to dress her daughter fashionably so she could enter one beauty pageant after another. They both knew it was the only way she was going to have a better life than her mother’s. No one but me ever knew what her home life was like. I always wondered how she kept it a secret.
She convinced me I had a shot at not only entering the next local beauty pageant but possibly even winning it. I figured she was kidding. She wasn’t. She found a coach for me and then gave me a “make-over”. From hair to make-up, to the way I walked.
It was the make-up that opened the door to my wrongdoing.
She bought me a lot of it. She had a part-time job. I protested and told her I couldn’t afford it. She was generous and said “I could pay her back in the future. Whenever I got a job”.
I did well in the pageant making it to the top ten. No, I’m not bragging. It’s just what happened. Remember, I didn’t win.
Anyway, she went away to college telling me to take my time paying her back.
Well, I did.
A lot of time.
In fact, never.
Our paths simply didn’t cross again. I could’ve found her if I’d wanted to. Her mother would certainly have given me her address. But I never even tried and because her mother died and I wasn’t in touch with any of the kids I went to high school with, I lost that opportunity.
Bu I heard about her over the years. She had made it kind of big in California.
I remember seeing her in a commercial once. She was only in the background but at least she was on the screen. Someone said she was performing in dinner theaters. I could see that happening and I was genuinely glad to hear she made something of her life. I knew how important it was to her. She always wanted to “shine”.
Years passed. High school reunions came and went but I didn’t. Go to them, I mean. What would I have said when I saw her? There was no excuse for my behavior no matter how young and stupid I was.
The elevator was getting hot. Or was it just me sweating? She turned and looked at me. “Is that you, Rebecca? I can’t believe it. After all these years!”
She was as kind and generous as she’d ever been which was just about the worst thing she could have been. I so needed her to be mean so I would feel properly chastised and could put it to rest. But no.
She had to be nice. And that was exactly what I didn’t want her to be.
Apparently she had long forgotten, or simply forgiven the debt I owed her.
The elevator doors suddenly opened and she got off, giving me a hug before she went on her way, saying how great it was seeing me again. I wanted to hit her and hug her at the same time.
I did neither.
I returned the fond farewell, knowing I didn’t mean a word of it. I felt like I was in high school all over again and had just been made a fool of by the prom queen.
I thought of the things that I’ve begrudged others, debts that haven’t been paid me. Hmmm, maybe what goes around does come around after all….
I often wished this had happened. But, alas, I’m going to have to suck it up and live with my regrets. I have a class reunion coming up next year. I am definitely going. If she is there, I’m going to give her the fifty dollars I owe her. She probably won’t remember I owe it to her. If she doesn’t take it, I’ll make a contribution to some organization. I need to fix this!
God bless and have a good day.