Now that Iím 18, supposedly an adult, I should know better. How many times will I see only as far as how funny something will be? After yesterday, I donít think Iíll ever fail to look past the immediate.
It all started when Jen commented on the new girlís dress. I probably wouldnít even have noticed that her hem had started coming out, let alone the thread that fluttered behind her like a wispy tail, if she hadnít pointed it out.
I saw the scenario play out in my mindís eye. As New Girl walked by, Iíd 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.
Thatís when it began to go horribly wrong. It turns out the thread wasnít 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 Girlís 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 schoolís 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 couldnít even feign innocence.
Later, the vice principal asked me that dreaded question. ďWhat were you thinking?Ē
Iím never bold enough to give the true answer: ĎPeople would have laughed, and I would have gotten attention. People would like me.í
Instead, I looked at my shoes, and softly but clearly said, ďI wasnít.Ē Adults usually seemed satisfied with that answer. I guess it validated their opinion of me.
Thatís when the deeper truth hit me for the first time. I really hadnít been thinking.
I didnít think about the other places that thread might have been attached to. I didnít think about how simply speaking kindly to New Girl would have been a much better, and safer, way to introduce myself. I wasnít thinking about a lot of things yesterday.
I think today will be different.
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