“Are you a goodie-goodie?”
My heart leapt in my chest. He was talking to me. Was he talking to me? Yes! He was talking to me!
“I, uh . . .” Wait a . . . Was I a what? A goodie-goodie? What was a goodie-goodie?
“Uh . . .” I thought I knew what it meant. I had a pretty good idea, but . . .
I was stuttering. He was staring at me. My cheeks were burning. The cement sidewalk where we stood was crashing into the school parking lot — six inches below.
“Umm, no. No, of course not. I do bad stuff all the time. I mean . . . What do you mean ‘a goodie-goodie’?” I flubbed and looked at him at last.
He laughed, clearly having a good time. His blue eyes sparkled as he did. “I mean a goodie-goodie. You know — someone who always does what they’re told.”
“No way,” I said, more quickly this time. “Not a goodie-goodie . . . Though it’s true I don’t enjoy getting in trouble,” I added.
“Hmph — what I thought,” he smirked.
Nooooo! “Uh.” This was going all wrong. Was I a goodie-goodie or wasn’t I? Was it bad if I was? What did he want?
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom’s black sedan appear at the edge of the school’s driveway. A mixture of relief and disappointment washed over me. “Ugh, my mom’s here. Gotta go.” I reached for my backpack on the brick plantar bed behind us. He lunged for it and snatched it away as I did. “Got to or want to?” he teased, holding the backpack above him, out of my reach.
“Got to!” I said, flushing again. He was holding my backpack!
“Ha. Just kidding,” he smiled. His auburn hair glinted in the afternoon sun. “Here.” He lowered the backpack and held it out towards me. I grabbed it and hugged it, bear-style, and began shuffling backwards towards the car, tripping over the crashing curb as I did. “Thanks,” I mumbled. My cheeks were on fire again, but his eyes were on the car. He waved to my mom in the driver’s seat, then looked back at me. “No problem. So . . . See you tomorrow?”
“Um, yeah. Yeah, sure. See you tomorrow.” I got in the back seat, but as we drove away and my mom began her, “So how was school?” my mind was elsewhere. I watched his silhouette shrinking in the rear view mirror — and all I could think was: See you tomorrow? What did that mean? Did that mean he would TALK to me tomorrow?!
Stay tuned for why in the heck I wrote this vignette. It’s based on a true story and shows . . . Well, I won’t give it away just yet. But in order to make my next point, I need you to see better . . . me. Me in all my innocent, naive, 14-year-old glory.