Instructions for How To Be Popular in Seventh Grade
Don’t go out on a date
Don’t go out on a date with Hal Picardi
Don’t call up your only friend, Janie Hughes
who you thought was your friend,
She was new at school, an army brat,
And you called to tell her
Hal took you behind the thrift store in the alley in the space between the buildings
And it was fall and cold
And he kissed you, you’d never been kissed,
And then he put his hand down your pants, you didn’t know why,
And you felt his fingers on you and it was wet.
And you stood there tight between the walls cold stock frozen
You felt things you didn’t know how to describe then or even later
You told Janie, “I went to 3rd base with Hal Picardi.”
You were excited to have something to share
And you were flattered when she said
Hang on just a minute I’ll be right back
And then she said
Can you repeat that, tell me again.
kids were smirking at you, especially Martha Teller
and you didn’t know why and then
You just walked into 1st period, and there was Janie Hughes with
a crowd of kids around a huge tape recorder reel-to-reel playing over and over
And there was a voice it was hard to hear because it was static-y
and faint. So you listened two or three times before you realized it was
you’d never heard your voice on tape before,
It was your voice, saying “I went to 3rd base with Hal Picardi.”
You were utterly
I didn’t know what the word was that I felt
But looking back now I was
Betrayed. Mortified. Angry. Ashamed. Humiliated.
And I ran out of the room.
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