Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: I'm Thinking
By Catrina Bradley
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It all started when Jen commented on the new girl’s dress. I probably wouldn’t even have noticed that her hem had started coming out, let alone the thread that fluttered behind her like a wispy tail, if she hadn’t pointed it out.
I saw the scenario play out in my mind’s eye. As New Girl walked by, I’d grab hold of the thread, and when she kept going down the aisle, the stitching would pull out and the whole hem would come undone.
What damage could there possibly be? It would even be a blessing in a way; the bottom of her dress would at least be even. A little harmless mischief; a joke to break the ice; a laugh between new friends.
It all started going according to plan. I stood up nonchalantly as New Girl approached us with her full lunch tray. As she passed by, I casually bent down, seemingly looking at something on the tile floor. I grasped the thread and wound it around my hand. New Girl kept walking; the stitches started popping out.
That’s when it began to go horribly wrong. It turns out the thread wasn’t from her hem; it was from her back seam. Too late, I saw the slit in her skirt grow longer and longer. Before I could get loose of the snarled string, and before I got the brilliant, but belated, idea to simply snap the flimsy thread, New Girl’s bottom was exposed to the entire lunchroom crowd. She must have felt a breeze on her behind and realized something was amiss. She balanced the tray on one arm, and reached back to see what was going on. When she felt satin instead of skirt, she dropped the tray and frantically tried to cover herself.
Unfortunately, the school’s ancient principal, Mrs. Hickey (who bore an eerie resemblance to the Wicked Witch of the West), chose that moment to totter along in the cross aisle. The second she shuffled into the spilled goulash, pudding, and iced tea, topped with a smattering of grapes, her feet came up and her backside hit the ground, causing her own unwilling display of what God never meant to be displayed.
I was mortified! I had caused this calamity. I was personally responsible for the humiliation of two innocent, undeserving souls. And I still had that thread wrapped around my hand. I couldn’t even feign innocence.
Later, the vice principal asked me that dreaded question. “What were you thinking?”
I’m never bold enough to give the true answer: ‘People would have laughed, and I would have gotten attention. People would like me.’
Instead, I looked at my shoes, and softly but clearly said, “I wasn’t.” Adults usually seemed satisfied with that answer. I guess it validated their opinion of me.
That’s when the deeper truth hit me for the first time. I really <I>hadn’t</I> been thinking.
I didn’t think about the other places that thread might have been attached to. I didn’t think about how simply speaking kindly to New Girl would have been a much better, and safer, way to introduce myself. I wasn’t thinking about a lot of things yesterday.
I think today will be different.
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