Searching For Michelle - Chapter Four

I smiled to know that somewhere in this world I had a niece or nephew. It made me feel more of an adult. I finished my meal and paid and walked back to my room to think and play out tomorrow’s events. Sometime during that time, I dozed off because I woke the next morning still in my clothes and on top of the blankets. I felt the butterflies rise in my stomach knowing that today would be the day I reunite with my other half.

[i]A few days passed before Paula finally told daddy about her dilemma. He was not furious, nor mad, just a little disappointed. He had always told us that sex was a precious gift shared by a married couple, and that in the bible it was a sin to have sex before that. The thought of it grossed me out so I really didn’t have any temptation.

I got onto the bus and watched out the window as Paula got into her car and drove the other way to her school. I always hated riding the bus, it smelled like rotting plastic and of course, those nasty boys in the back who would have farting contests. Why? Yuck.

I was somewhat of a loner at school, so during recess I sat on the ledge of a wall near the door and watched. I would occasionally wave or smile back to different people but for the most part, I didn’t say a word. I just listened to the sound of my breathing and the occasional whistle blow when someone would get punished for rough-housing or teasing.

Ms. Lee came over and sat next to me as she did every day to ask the same old, “how are you?” or “how is your day?” Everyday I answered the same telling her I was fine, my day was good. Which, for the most part, my days were always good. Nobody really teased me even though I was a loner. I was getting good grades as well.

When the bell rang I grabbed my bag and ran back inside. Then it happened. The dreaded voice loomed above my head, echoing throughout the school, “Michelle Lund, please come to the principals office… Michelle Lund to the principal.” I heard the faint oohs and giggles from other peers as they relaxed knowing it wasn’t them being summoned to their fate.

I trudged slowly down the hallway towards the glass walls dreading what was going to happen. I guess I should have prepared myself more, there was no way I would have known the events about to unfold.[/i]

I felt a shiver down my spine as the emotion of that day approached. I shook it off, knowing that I couldn’t visit it just yet. I rolled out of bed, nearly vomiting from the excessive anxiety permeating my insides. I walked to the bathroom and started the shower, hoping it would relax me somehow.

My mind raced back to where I had left off before that memory could invade me.

[i]Kindergarten was a breeze, it flew by in no time. It was Paula’s last year in the elementary, which made me sad. We would still ride the same bus, but she would have to transfer to another bus to the middle school. Paula and I became so very close that summer.

I spent most of my time in the sandbox, playing quietly with a vibrant imagination. That was one thing that I was good at. I could imagine any situation and actually believe myself to be there. It usually took me a few hours to come back to reality after playing. And it seemed that everyday that summer, my imagination became more and more intense.

The days drifted on that summer, nothing amazing or life-changing really happened at the Lund household. [/i]

I got out of the shower to dry myself off and get dressed for the day. As excited as I was, I was incredibly nervous, “What if she doesn’t even remember me?” I thought nervously.

I walked out the front doors and walked slowly down the street, making my way to Pathways Preschool.

[i]First grade came quick, but without Paula there I felt so lonely. I was fine in preschool without Paula but that was because I knew Nancy, my teacher. She was from our church and I knew that I would have her as well. So it was comforting.

But now I am on my own to walk these halls, to find my way to class, and get on the bus home. I made a couple friends, one being Bobby Miller. He was kind of a brat, but he lived down the street and I really had no choice but to play with him occasionally. The other was Carrie, she lived a few blocks away so we played very seldom. But she was still one of the nicer girls at school.

First grade was also the year of my first sleep-over. It was very scary, but I didn’t want the other girls to call me a big baby or a chicken. So when daddy said I could go, I prepared myself. I grabbed my pillow, my favorite pajamas that mommy made me, and of course, Bubba… my teddy bear. I hugged him tight and shoved him in my pillow.

I remember pulling into Carrie’s driveway, tempted to call the whole thing off and go back home. Carrie came running out to greet me as well as her mother, Theresa. Daddy and Theresa talked for a minute or two, daddy was warning her this was my first time.

Carrie and I went inside where she grabbed my pillow and duffel bag and tossed it on the steps.

“Come on Michelle, Sarah and Mary are here too!” Carrie had squealed as she pulled me through the hall and into the living room.

I barely knew Sarah, but I knew Mary, she was one of my good friends in preschool and part of kindergarten. She was sort of bossy though so she never kept friends long.

The four of us sat down and Theresa came in, “Alright girls, let’s start with rules…”

That’s sort of where I ‘blacked out’ the whole conversation. I didn’t hear the rules, I didn’t know where I was. I just remember the overwhelming urge to cry.

I sniffled and tried hard to hold those tears back, but even with the opening of my mouth and the squinting, they were too strong.

I remember Theresa holding me and rocking back and forth telling me ‘it was going to be ok’ I think it must have been a good 20 minutes before I calmed down. I missed Paula and I missed daddy. I wanted to go home, but I was too scared to say anything.

Theresa brought in 4 bowls of ice cream and put a movie in. She sat next to me and smiled, and put her arm around me. I ate my ice cream and watched the movie with the other girls, slowly beginning to feel better. When the movie ended, Carrie came running back with a game for all of us to play.

We gathered on the floor around the game, and the next thing I remember is having to go potty really bad. Why I was too scared to say anything? I don’t know. I sat there and squirmed, pulling my pants up tight against myself, hoping it would hold it in until I got home the next day. Unfortunately it didn’t hold.

Mary’s eyes got huge when she saw it. “Michelle, you peed your pants!” And the other girls just looked. I could feel my face growing hotter and hotter. I began to cry once again, only this time I was not afraid to say I wanted to go home, because I repeated it over and over again.

Theresa came in and took my hand and led me out of the room. I could hear whispers behind my back as I walked out.

Theresa grabbed my duffel bag and led me upstairs to the bathroom. She began to pull my pants down when I stopped her, “I can do it.”

She nodded and stood up, she started the bathwater and I watched.

“Michelle, go ahead and take your pants off.” She told me as she filled the bath.

I just wanted her to leave the bathroom, I shook my head and looked down. “Can you call my daddy?”

Theresa shook her head, “Not until you get out of those wet clothes. You will get a rash.”

I slowly peeled them away from my skin, feeling the sharp, itchy tingles on my inner thighs. I stood there trying to hide myself.

“Oh silly, it’s ok.” Theresa said as she helped me into the tub. I could feel my face still fiery red in embarrassment as Theresa grabbed a washcloth and began to wash me. This day was never going to end I thought to myself.

Theresa handed me my pajamas, “I guess you’ll have to wear these now, since that’s all you have.”

Theresa walked out of the bathroom, leaving me there in a towel, ashamed and still teary eyed.

I walked down to the kitchen where the other girls sat finger-painting. Bedtime would be soon and I wanted my own bed. I walked up to Theresa, “Did you call my daddy?”

She shook her head, “Sweetie, it’s already getting late. We will call him in the morning.” She replied.

I felt so stuck, so sad. Carrie looked at me and spoke, “Michelle. It’s ok. You don’t have to be sad. I have accidents too. That’s why I gotta wear pullups at night. Maybe you should wear one of them too. We can be twins!”

I didn’t care though, I was embarrassed, scared and so homesick. I felt the tears forming again, but these ones were easier to hold back. I sat down and watched the girls finger paint I was not interested in it. Then I began to worry that Theresa would make me wear one of Carrie’s pullups.

As bedtime approached I grew more nervous, so nervous that my stomach began to turn. I knew I needed to lay down and go to sleep or I would be sick.

“Theresa? Where do I sleep tonight? I wanna lay down.” I said wearily.

Theresa led me up to Carrie’s bedroom where she had laid out all of our sleeping bags. I walked over to mine and laid my head down on the pillow.

“Michelle, do you have night-time accidents too?” Theresa asked.

I paused with fear and half-heartedly shook my head. [/i]

I gulped nervously and stopped. The place had not barely changed since I was there. “Pathways Preschool” I sighed.

I walked to the front door and walked inside. The hallway still was the same, with class pictures lining the walls going all the way back to the 1970’s. I looked for mine, slowly tracing each picture…

“Can I help you ma’am?”

I jumped up and stared at the woman, “Umm… er… I-I… Ye-… Can-I mean, I-Is P-Paula here?”

The woman stared at me for a few seconds before walking into the classroom.

My stomach began to knot up, and I started to feel overwhelmed. I panicked and turned around and headed for the door. I pushed the door open, but I was stopped by a faintly familiar voice.

“Can I help you hon?” She said.

I almost darted out the door, but instead I turned my head. She smiled, and walked closer. When she was inches in front of me, her smile faded. Her eyes squinting as if to make out my face. I believe I even noticed the bottom of her eyes pooling up with tears when she covered her mouth with her hands.

“Shell?” She whispered.

I nodded, and wiped a tear away.