At age 8, when I was in the third grade, a new girl came to school. Her name was Crystal and everyone thought she was so pretty and cool. She ended up becoming my best friend. She cussed a lot and got the whole class cussing in secret. We were the popular kids, a concept I had never heard of before at this point. Crystal brought a nestlea quick jar to school one day and told me that we should save a lot of money up and go to six flags when we had enough money. My mom was my best friend and I told her everything. She thought it was cute I had a friend in school and would sometimes give me an extra dollar or two to put in the jar. I made an allowance every week–one dollar a week and every week I contributed my hard earned dollar.
We would pick Crystal up to go to GA’s at church on Wedsndays and I remember she was always very mean to the preacher’s daughter Rebecca. I had been good friends with Rebecca for a while so I didn’t like it when she would be mean to her but she wouldn’t stop. That is one thing that I really remember about Crystal–she had a mean streak. She was also very controlling. But she liked me for whatever reason and I was grateful.
I always had a strong conscious though.
I began to feel very guilty for cussing, for treating the other kids so mean and one day during an assembly I realized that I did not want to be friends with Crystal any longer. Big Mistake. She turned on me the instant I told her that I didn’t want to be friends. She began to put me down in front of the other kids and began to call me nerd. a lot. I went from being a popular girl to having pretty much no friends. I remember one time some of the kids were outside playing house and they all had roles, “I’m the mom and you’re the daddy” and so on and so forth. I was playing on the monkey bars near by with a friend I had known since kindergarten. The kids began to call for us to come play with them. I went but my friend did not, she was shy and didn’t play with many kids. I hopped down off my spot on top of the monkey bars and they decided that I was going to be the dog. I didn’t want to be the dog and the kids became mean and I ended up running away in tears.
However, Crystal and I still shared a locker and our money was still in that jar. One day after school, Crystal’s mom came to pick her up and Crystal ended up taking all that money. The next day she had a pair of Adidas on. I don’t know how much money was in that jar but I would say about 30. My mom didn’t like the fact that Crystal had taken our money and spent it on herself so she confronted Crystal’s mom about it. We still took Crystal to church every Weds even though I would beg my mom not to. When we stopped to get her that Weds. my mom asked her mom if she knew Crystal had taken money that belonged to both of us. Her mom replied that most of the money was Crystal’s and she would give us $5 for my half. That was the last day we picked up Crystal for church.
At the end of the year we had a standardized test. I always rushed through these tests seeing how quickly I could finish. I remember I finished first that year and my friend Dorthey finished right behind me. I can even see my desk that I had to stare at while the other’s finished. I ended up scoring really high on that test and it was because of this reason my principle asked my mom if he could skip me past 4th grade and see how I did in the fifth grade. It was a new program he said and they were going to call it the “Rainbow Program”. Grade levels would be colors instead and children would be placed in the color they tested in. He actually was pretty persuasive because my mom didn’t think I was ready maturity wise but the next year I was in the 5th grade instead of 4th.
Crystal had branded me though, perhaps not to the other children but in my head I was a nerd now and my self esteem began to suffer. My home life was going from bad to worse as I began to be more aware of my parent’s fighting and lack of money. A lot of small things began to combine to make bigger issues and by the time I had entered 5th grade it had really begun to escalate but that is a story for tomorrow.