A friend of a friend, she was. This was way back in 8th grade. The friend she was a friend of was the girl I hung out with when I wanted to score some dope, take one of her Dad's More cigarettes, or drink from the stash her mother kept in the alcohol cabinet.
None of these desires of mine do I not think back with without feeling such a huge sense of shame. It was what it was. I am what I was. I am what I am.
Her name was Dawn.
She was there in 9th grade, too. Perhaps we had other classes together beyond PE, but PE is where I remember her. In the spring, when we had to do the President's Physical Fitness test, she was there. All of us in the class looked upon our teacher with more than disdain when she made Dawn keep running those laps we had all finished. We looked upon that PE teacher with pure hatred as Dawn collapsed, unable to do more than one meager lap.
It wasn't just that Dawn was heavy that prevented her from doing more. She was pregnant. She was more than seven months along.
In the summer, I visited Dawn with her new daughter. One visit. There she was with this precious little tiny baby. No gifts or cards from us. Just fascination mingled with shock.
I have no idea whatever became of her. I have no idea whatever became of any of the girls and boys I hung out with in 8th or 9th grade. I haven't really thought of Dawn since the summer after 9th grade, except when I hear of another young girl pregnant. Or, now, when my own kids are closing in on that age and I realize with a start that I'd better start talking a whole hell of a lot more to those kids about perils beyond not holding my hand when they cross the street or not brushing their teeth.