Annie was a real pre-teen bitch. Queen of the mean girls. We were nine and she was our Empress. I remember meeting Annie on our first day of grade two. In actuality we had met at age four in the playground between our mom’s two co-ops but grade two was the first time I actually remember meeting her. She was sitting on the floor at the front of the classroom with her boyfriend’s legs straddled around her. I was in immediate awe. How this girl was mature and confident enough to have a boyfriend in grade two astonished me. We became fast friends and by the time grade three rolled around we had formed a girl gang, although we didn’t really consider ourselves that. It was the teachers who called us “Les Cinq Filles”(the five girls) they were concerned about our impact on the other students, accusing us of being exclusionary. We shrugged it off and kept quiet during our regular Principle’s office stare-downs.
Les Cinq Filles may have looked like a “group” from the outside but inside there was a well discerned hierarchy. Annie at the top, obviously, Jules and Kelly next tier, then me and Lea holding up the pyramid. We would call dibs on who got to sit next to Annie at lunch, if me or Lea asked and then Jules did, our earlier bids were forgotten. Annie could and would get us to do anything, often times to our own humiliation. I was the minute keeper (as I was the best in school) and kept the book of tallies on our scores for these “friendly” activities. I remember one time I chickened out on a dare and Annie told a boy at lunch that I liked him, which was especially tragic because I actually did like that particular boy but hadn’t told anyone. Keep your cards close to your chest is some thing I must have learned at a young age.
As the grades moved up we stayed friends and Annie somehow blocked out our grade three days from her consciousness (to mine, Lea, Kelly and Jules’ disbelief). It turns out I hadn’t moved past it but had buried it deep. A few months ago Annie and I were having a chat in her living room while her daughter Cindy played on the floor. I had just moved back from New York and I guess something had changed in me. Like I learned how to not take any bullshit in New York and had brought that skill home. Annie was dissecting my latest relationship and criticizing all my major life choices when suddenly it went like “nope” in my head. I told her “I respect your opinion but I’ve had enough of it for one day” and walked out. Cindy said “bye” whilst Annie stayed silent. We haven’t spent time together since but sometimes I’ll text her just to keep things light. We have after-all known each-other a long time.
This story is part of: “10 Bios in 10 Days” by Jane A. F.