I got to thinking recently about those kids in grade school that everyone ignored. You know the ones…at recess, they sat alone in an imaginary world, as if it wasn’t bothering them to be alone. And maybe it wasn’t. One of these people, Cindy (name changed), was part albino. Her eyes were so sensitive to light that she always squinted. Nearly blind, she had to study in class with an overhead projector. Her eyes were so see-through blue, they looked like water. Her hair and skin was so white that it blended together. At recess, Cindy would slowly peel an orange, acting like she was busy, always staring at the ground.
A few years ago, I went to an animal hospital in Amelia to purchase a kitten. I was in the waiting room with my new animal, when the vet tech came in. It was Cindy, with long, white-blonde hair, flawless skin, and her sight was fine. Perhaps, she’d had laser treatment, but no projector, no glasses, nothing. She was beaming with rosy cheeks and gorgeous enough to model. She had beauty, a good job, and a large ring on her left hand. We hugged, catching up.
Another one was Henry (name changed). I went to a Methodist church growing up, even though I wasn’t Methodist (long story). Anyway, in bible study, Henry was such a distraction that he always got in trouble, often kicked out. Sometimes, he’d just leave and run away. Everyone complained about him, and parents called him a nuisance. All the girls thought he was “gross.”
When I was about 20, I ran into Henry at Perkins. He was built like a movie star, and so incredibly handsome, most girls couldn’t even look him in the eye. His jaw was chiseled and cut, more attractive than any actor I’d seen. We went out once, and everywhere around, when he smiled, girls smiled and giggled. It was so obvious it was funny. Then we stopped at White Castle, and Henry stacked the boxes on the dash in a pyramid like a 12 year old, and I started thinking, now there’s the Henry I know.
My point is…one never knows how people might turn out, and if I could go back, I’d say hey, Cindy, what’s up, in the middle of recess, and have a chat with her, and maybe peel the orange for her. It was so hard for her back then, literally. Here’s to those forgotten ones, the nerds and loners and rebels, or the shy ones who got overlooked (I fall into that category somewhere). And here’s to Henry and Cindy. If I forgot to tell you back then, I’m glad to know you.