I met Wendy in my final year of high school. She became the epitome of what kind of woman would have me under their thumb in the coming years. Symbolically she was my teacher. Literally she was a teacher.
Wendy was a beautiful stranger whom I noticed standing guard in the corner near my lunch table one fall afternoon. Our closed lunch required mobile barricades, and she was my gatekeeper. I inquired about her presence since I had never seen her during my vast, explorative years in this school. It was her first year. She taught Freshman English. She was young; hadn’t even hit 30 yet. I didn’t think much of the encounter, but I could safely say my homework was never quite the same. I just so happened to come into my government class in the heat of an election, so one of our projects were to select a candidate for a position and “represent” them, attempting to raise funds from the other teachers. Despite my protests, we approached a popular debate teacher who was (surprise) an entitled asshole with a strange affinity for his dry erase board. He interrupted our pitch to question whether something was like ___ or it was ___.
He gave us 50 bucks.
When we crossed through the shortcut hallway, we stumbled across Wendy’s room. Whatever chemical it was that talking to a beautiful woman released, I was jonesing for it. We went in and re-pitched. For an English teacher, she didn’t seem to mind the likes. She gave us $200, which was the maximum. I continued to talk to Wendy over the lunch periods, and we became close throughout that last year. I had a bullshit class at the end of the day and she had none, so I would often skip to come hang out with her in her room, discussing things from favorite authors to music tastes. She let me borrow Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to this day I haven’t finished a book faster than that weekend. Before my fall from grace I still had her copy of 1984 with a part of the foreword ripped out. She helped me complete and submit my very first short story to my very first contest. “It’s like Terminator and Back to the Future with Aliens thrown in.” She said.
It was terrible. I have since lost any and all copies of the story. Probably for the better.
Her favorite band growing up was The Ramones. She turned me onto a greatest hits CD, and I Blitzkrieg Bopped my way around the halls. She used to be a punk rocker, until she met her husband. That combined with having a daughter will force even the Sheena’s of the world take a step back. I talked about her often to everyone. Maybe too often. People started to think that we were engaging in 6 o’clock news type material.
Not that I would have minded.
Wendy cared about me in ways that I so rarely get. She inspired me to write, even if it ended up terrible, and she gave me ten dollars for gas when she found out I was running my truck empty on the way to school.
Often times there just wouldn’t be enough gas and I would have to hoof it the extra mile to school and come back for the truck when I could scrounge up some more. She gave it to me wrapped in a card and included a copy of Oh Captain My Captain for my birthday.
During my last week in school, I was worried that my girlfriend Misty might be pregnant. Wendy saw that something was bothering me and I informed her of the possibility. We talked about the various options involved with that awful idea. Fortunately we were in the clear, but unfortunately I was gone before I could communicate that to Wendy. The rest of the students were still in school and one day I got a fateful phone call from Misty. “So, guess who stopped me in the hall today?”
Probably the only time she was justifiably angry with me. Oh well.
My relationship with her may have been purely platonic, but every time I meet a girl I’m interested in, my mind goes back to Wendy. My brain automatically tries to find how this new girl fits the mental mold of a woman I was born too late for. I want that reincarnation. Maybe one day I’ll find it. I’ll be at a show for a band that calls itself punk, and in the mosh pit will be a petite brown-haired girl, whipping her hair back and forth. I’ll move in with the intent to tame this lioness, only to realize that holy shit I’m in the middle of a mosh pit. A wild elbow will whip around and smack my left temple. I’ll collapse and before anyone notices I’m down, the possible young Wendy will accidentally stomp on my head. A crack no one can hear will open up my mind to a world of red. The hemorrhaging will be the end of me, but at least I’ll die dreaming of a world where Wendy is mine.