was a senior and Kate was in 9th grade. She was awkward and gawky. Very tall. I would say that she was atleast 5'8. She has long hair, perhaps to the middle of her back, thick-rimmed glasses, and a bucktoothed smile. She was very well-read and very religious as well: she was an occasional guest speaker at her church where she would lead the sermon. We got to know each other because I was an active member and secretary of the Human Relations Club, an organization that tried to create understanding and friendship between different kinds of people. She got involved in the organization.
At the time, I was a questioning kid. My junior year, I became involved in glbt (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) issues, even considered myself as "bisexual" for a while. I wanted to expose the high school to them and I was an Angry Young Woman(tm) because I felt that the school's discussion about this to the students was inadequate. I started sneaking the all-famous pink triangles (and black ones) on posters for the Human Relations Club. I wanted them to serve as signals. "Here's where you can go and be yourself." Perhaps that's what attracted Katie (k8) to the club. We started talking, especially since I was a very vocal voice for gay issues.
Well, we started exchanging notes and talking. I thought it was all very innocent and just thought she was a great female friend. I never really thought much of it, especially since I was involved with men at the time. Then I remember telling her that she would look so much better if she started combing her hair. It was long and almost always in disarray. The next day she came up to me and showed me her hair. She had combed it neatly into place and pulled it together in a ponytail. I've never seen it that neat. And she was beautiful.
We were very close, writing and talking every day. At HRC meetings, she would help arrange my hair, sometimes braiding it. I clearly remember one day when I was pulled into the principal's office. It was the principal of the school and a guidance councellor or teacher. I have forgotten who they were now. The conversation is still very clear, however.
Adult figure: "So, are you and Kate friends?"
Me: "Yes, we are friends. Is there a problem?"
Adult figure: "Well, what kind of relationship do you have with her?"
Me: "We're friends. Does anyone have a problem with that?"
Adult figure: "There has been talking about you two."
Adult figure 2: "People say that they've seen you two kissing in the hallway."
Me: "First of all, I don't think it is anyone's business what relationship I have with k8. Secondly, I have never done anything that can be considered 'inappropriate' in the hallway with anyone."
Adult figure 2: "Well, you know people talk..."
Me: "I think that people should mind there own business." (turning to adult figure 1) "Is there a problem? Otherwise, I don't see why I am here."
Me: "May I leave now?"
Adult figure: "Yes, you can go."
I was definitely an Angry Young Woman(tm). After that incident, I grew even more vocal about the need for dialogue in the high school about gay and lesbian issues. There was not a single out student and the traditional conservatism of the school prevented any open talk about it. k8 and I grew even closer as friends. It was wonderful, but I'm not sure it would go anywhere. I was itching for male companionship, not female. The first half of my senior year, I was involved with a Steve, whom I met in All State Chorus. We had a falling out and then I started fostering my old relationship with Mark. As the prom came closer and graduation closer, k8 and I got further apart and I was too blind to see it. I was too busy with Mark. It really didn't hit me until she dropped off my graduation present at my home: the Compleat Stephen King Reference Book. I found it on the back stoop, lovingly wrapped in red paper.
I remember holding that book in my hand, filled with mixed emotions. She was gone and I didn't even see her leave. I never talked to her, not a word after that. I would pick up my sister after school when I was in college and see k8 in the hallway. She would always be busy talking to her friends and I would be busy looking for my sister. I'm not sure if this is a tale of lost love or anything like that. Just a memory of k8...
Your day breaks