Tag Archives: Sunday

Miniature Revenge

Jana: I had dinner with my parents on Sunday and my dad told me this short story:

I have an older sister – about a year and a half older, but when we were kids it felt like much, much more. There was a hierarchy that existed in all of our activities (one “game” I recall involved her giving me ten seconds to run downstairs and sharpen a pencil. She’d stand at the top of the stairs and be like: “You have TEN SECONDS. GO!” and I’d be like “AHHH” and run as fast as I could, fearing whatever it was that might happen if I didn’t complete the task in time), and this hierarchy was made even more evident when our playing involved other kids her age. Naturally, the girl who lived next door was also an older kid – a year older than my sister, thus making them a team of older kids – and the three of us hung out a lot.

I mostly remember really, really wanting to play with them, and often getting told to leave them alone. But, sometimes they needed me. I think they needed me for situations like the following:

– To retrieve balls that had been thrown deep into bushes

– To play the lower-status person in pretend games

– To be the monkey in monkey-in-the-middle (THIS IS HELL)

– To generally have someone to boss around

Still, I craved their attention, and gladly took on these roles again and again. But my dad recalls that one day, we had all been playing outside until, for some reason, I’d been banished back to our house. So, I was hanging out alone in the “play room,” probably re-reading “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” and blowing my nose. Suddenly, my sister and the neighbor burst into the house. “Jana! Come play with us!” they said. And – now this was a real moment for me – I think I finally knew what was up. They didn’t really want to PLAY with me, they just NEEDED me for some shit job. So I was like, “ok guys, be out in a minute!”, and waited until they’d gone back outside. Then I turned to my dad and said in a whispered tone: “…. I’m not going.”

Catherine: Jana, little Jana, speaking a secret in a whispered tone. This to me must be what heaven is like. I never had experiences like this growing up with my older brothers, I think maybe I was so awesome that they really did want to play with me? Or maybe no. Maybe this is what they were doing the whole time, all along, and this post is helping me to see the light… I choose to live in blissful ignorance.

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Mirrors: If You Kick Them, They Will Break

Jana: Throughout my childhood and into my adolescence, I played soccer. I didn’t LIKE soccer (in fact, it made me VERY nervous and upset), but I did play it, every year: every fall, every spring, and lots of winters. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in my adulthood trying to figure out why, the fuck, I kept playing, if I hated it so much, and all I can come up with is that a) I really wanted to be like my sister, and b) I really don’t like change. I’m a routine kinda girl! In the fall, I played soccer, because when I was eight I followed in my sister’s cleated footsteps and signed up for soccer clinic, and then it was just accepted in my mind as a perennial part of my life.

Me on the soccer field, looking a little angry and a little scared. Look closely for a glimpse at my hair horns (you’ll also want to note the receding hairline, caused by my obsessive need to pull the ponytail as tight as possible).

However, although I deeply hated my own soccer team (note: to any former teammates who may stumble upon this, it was entirely because I was such a weirdo. You were all really nice to me even though I was so weird, so thanks! Go Waves, and all of that! – yes, our team was called the Waves. What?), I remained genuinely invested in the soccer career of my sister. Starting out as a Purple People Eater, her star rose quickly, and she made varsity as a FRESHMAN. That’s unheard of, people. I was beyond proud.

One year, her indoor soccer team had a tournament. Now, indoor soccer doesn’t really matter, but I was a big fan (again, not of PLAYING it – I hated that too, but did it religiously). The tournament at hand was on a Sunday, and consisted of many games in a row, with teams being eliminated as they went. It was a lot like the Olympics, if the Olympics were held in a really depressing indoor sports facility in Burlington, MA, that also hosted birthday parties.

But what better did I have to do with my Sunday? I’ll tell ya: nothin. I was pumped. I went, I stayed all day, I have a weird feeling that I was wearing purple pants of some kind. And my sister’s team was KILLIN IT! They kept winning and winning, and I was overjoyed.

But then, in the final game, things seemed off. The other team was coming off of an hour’s rest, and my sister’s team had played straight through. The other team had lots of subs, and ours only had one or two, or something. The ref made bad calls! I don’t know. Honestly, I do not know nor can I identify with the version of myself that was really invested in this. But invested I was. So invested, in fact, that when they eventually lost the game I was very worked up; I’m sure my hair was frizzing out even more than usual and my cheeks were red. I felt a familiar rage boil inside me, and I knew I had to let it out.

Here is how I chose to let it out: I walked to the bathroom. The bathroom was a rectangular space, and on one end of the room hung a full-length mirror, presumably for young athletes to admire themselves fully pre- and post-games. Without a second thought, I bolted to the far end of the room, got a running start past the sinks, and did a FLYING KICK into the mirror.

Here is what happened next: THE MIRROR BROKE. OBVIOUSLY it broke. It cracked down the middle. Why did I think that it might NOT break? Why did I not consider the cold, hard, fact that mirrors break when you kick them, let alone RUN at them and then kick them? But still! I saw the mirror crack and it destroyed me in an instant. I felt that flash of fear that actually feels like your heart has cracked. What had I done? I was overcome with guilt. I was crying. I was deeply, deeply ashamed.

I couldn’t face anyone right away. I picture myself behaving like someone in a movie who has just shot someone else – alone, shaking my head a little, pacing up and down the empty bathroom. I probably also shook my hands out, like really close to my chest, like an “ahhh what just happened” shake. Once I’d fretted enough, I tried to brush the tears off of my face, hung my head, and found my mom. Then I whispered to her what had happened, in between gulped sobs. Being reasonable, she was confused, but she was just like…. ok, let’s go. This is a large, asshole facility. They can fix their mirror. I couldn’t believe her nonchalance! So we left, while I cried. I continued to feel guilty about the mirror for years to come, until gradually I stopped feeling guilty and started just feeling like… why’d you do that, Jana?

Catherine: YOU DID A FLYING KICK?? Why is this not on tape somewhere? I can see it now, your purple pants flying through the air as your bobby-pinned head lets out a cry of disgust. Also, since you intentionally broke that mirror, I believe you signed up for way more than just 7 years of bad luck, which explains why your life still sucks.
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