The Bitch Ponders

Part I.
I am going to a conference and I am pretty sure I will run into The One Who Does Not Want to Friend Me, On Facebook or Otherwise, and I find myself obsessing about this every so often. We were best friends the first quarter of freshman year of college and I came across a very lovely card she sent me over Thanksgiving that year, about how she felt so different from high school friends she talked to, because they were not feminist or interested in careers and she was. She was so very interested in careers. We were both in journalism but she had done more Out in the World than I had. As a high schooler, she'd interned at a real daily newspaper, while I had worked at an amusement park for two summers. I had worked on the newsletter for employees of the park. She had also won or placed in a national creative writing contest sponsored by Seventeen Magazine. (Maybe international, if you count Canada.) I had sent in to a Seventeen contest, but I was so ignorant I didn't know I was supposed to send a copy of a high school newspaper article I'd written, I mean I sent a clean, typed copy of the article, and *not* a photocopy of the newspaper that contained the article. I try to remember that, when students ask me questions that seem to show they have not one iota of common sense. I wouldn't say that I competed with The One; it was a given that she had achieved more; I may have considered her to be in a quite separate realm.

I remember I was an Honorable Mention in a contest, but I don't remember for what. And I had two trophies--one from a citywide journalism contest and the other from a Jewish organization that sponsored a writing award. I remember it as the Seymour Cussworm Award, but that sounds like a made-up name. In many ways I peaked in high school. In college and graduate school I was average or below. I would like to think that I am still on my way to my peak. As Nora Ephron wrote once, in the essay "On Having Never Been a Prom Queen": I am, in fact, at this very moment gaining my looks.

I just googled again and found the Sidney G. Kusworm award, but it is for community service. He was head of Americanization for the B'nai B'rith and served on Truman's civil rights commission. All of this giving Seymour an intractable inferiority complex, of course.

I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, was it my fault that I broke up with my boyfriend freshman year, and then got back together with him a few weeks or month later? It may have been sophomore year. I assume that was my transgression, according to The One Who Will Not... because she went out with him after we broke up, and I guess he broke up with her in order to get back together with me. But shouldn't she blame him and not me? And shouldn't I have forgotten this in the decades since?

I do emphasize the negative; I think of The One... instead of A, whom I have not seen in about 20 years, and with whom I will have lunch a week from Monday. A is a lovely and intense person, with blond hair, blue eyes, a cherubic face and soft voice, who brought down a corrupt mayor with her reporting. You may remember Coleman Young and the krugerrands. (Which was not a singing group.) I will also see D, who was my boss and taught me the little bit I learned early on about structuring a longer piece of writing.

It could be, of course, that along the way, The One decided she did not like me. How could that be? I ask L. How could someone not like me? We are both baffled.
[Artist credit: Henry Wallis]