In second grade, I had two enemies: Reggie and his goofy sidekick, Jacob. I never really paid Reggie or Jacob any attention until the day Reggie said the most vile thing my eight year old ears had ever heard. On this particular day, our teacher Mrs. Peyton was out sick and we had a substitute. She was a little high-strung but other than that, the day was going on as planned. Our class was on our way back from lunch, walking in two lines, when Jacob, the sidekick burst out laughing. Gripping his stomach in discomfort, Jacob pointed in my direction.
With a look of intense disgust, I asked, lip snarled, “What?” That’s when Jacob told me, between bursts of laughter, that Reggie said I’d sucked his d!ck.
My mouth flew open in shock. I knew what they were talking about but the thought that another 8 year old would accuse me of such a thing was abhorrent. Something had to be done about this. In an attempt to do the right thing and use my words instead of my fists, I walked up to the substitute and told her what had just happened. She looked back at me in skepticism, just staring. Waiting for her to react, I asked her “Well, are you going to do anything?” And she said, “No, because I don’t believe you.”
To this day, I can’t remember the woman’s name, her face or anything else about her. But I remember what she said to me and how I spent the rest of the day in a rage, fighting back tears until I got home. Since I got no justice, I swore I would never forgive Reggie and Jacob. Luckily, after second grade, I didn’t have to interact with them anymore. In third grade we were all in a different class and after that I went to another elementary and middle school. I still don’t know what happened to Reggie but I saw Jacob again in high school.
It was freshman year. I had just gotten off the school bus and was walking into school, when I saw him for the first time since second grade. I recognized him immediately though he had changed significantly.The years had been very kind to him. He didn’t look goofy. He wasn’t the skinny, gangly boy who’d laughed at my expense. He was tall, chocolate, muscular with full lips and a nice smile. Jacob looked great but my memory had not faded. Even though he wasn’t the one that said it, he laughed just a little too hard. And after 7 years, I still wasn’t ready to forgive. I had no intention of speaking to him.
But I didn’t have to. A couple weeks after I’d noticed him, he called me out.
“Veronica, Veronica Wells.”
“Hi Jacob.” I gave him just a slight smile instead of a sincere one, to let him know what I hadn’t forgotten. But then he flashed me a smile of his own and subconsciously, I returned it.
From that day on, I’d walk into school with Jacob. For maybe two weeks, this little arrangement was cool. I brought up the incident from second grade. He didn’t remember it but he laughed it off and apologized, giving me some type of “boys will be boys” excuse. I moved past it.
Everything was gravy, until one day I noticed homeboy wasn’t saying anything. Every morning, the most that would come out of his mouth was “Wassup Veronica.” I’d respond accordingly, ask him how he was doing and his response was always something along the lines of “I’m chillin’,” or “I’m cool, you know.” Umm no Jacob I really didn’t know.
Eventually, our morning constitutionals started to annoy me immensely. Why did this gorgeous boy, who was obviously interested in me too, have the personality of a saltine?!
I might have continued speaking and walking with Jacob in the mornings but one day he did something that I just couldn’t excuse. After another terribly boring conversation, he reached the doors to our school before I did. Now, you would think in two weeks this would have happened by now, but our school was huge, so the doors were usually flung open already as a mob of kids pushed and shoved their way into school. But this day, we got to it first. I took a half step back to let Jacob get to the door. As expected, he opened it. But what I didn’t expect was for him to walk through it first, practically letting it slam in my face.
I can’t remember my exact thoughts at the time, but I’m sure they were something along the lines of: “what the %(*)()$?!”
This just could not be. It’s one thing to be boring. It’s an entirely different thing to have no manners. I was done. In the mornings, I either picked up the pace, or fell back, letting everyone get off the bus before me, so I wouldn’t have to speak or walk with Jacob anymore.
I really didn’t keep up with him the rest of freshman year. But three years later, my younger sister’s friend, a junior, started dating him when we were seniors. Naturally, I was interested in how their relationship would progress. She seemed to be so into him. I just knew it would only be a matter of time. And sure enough, she told my sister that Jacob was heavy into marijuana. He didn’t sell it but he indulged…often. Being young and naive, it wasn’t a problem for my sister’s friend. She defended him and would later go on to adopt Ciara and Field Mob’s “So What,” as the theme song for their relationship. Because no one understood their struggle. Eventually, even she grew up and outgrew Jacob’s lack of personality, lack of ambition and minor drug habit.
I’m glad I never got involved with that foolishness and had enough sense to leave him at the door.
Have you ever found yourself interested in someone who was physically gorgeous but lacked personality or common decency?