Since I did my speech today, I wanted to keep all the interest in my outfit on the bottom, since my audience would only see me from the waist up.
Hi-yah! But the bottom is kick-ass: my favourite brown lace skirt and my classic leopard pumps. How I love these.
The speech went well, thanks for asking. I made one of the women cry - and I did not cry myself! A victory!
In case you are interested, this is my speech (I have removed identifying details, but otherwise, this is a true story):
Found on the Ferry
For the past 14 years, my husband’s been saying that eventually I’ll run into someone I know on the ferry. My reaction? “Yeah, right. What are the chances?” But this Christmas, it finally happened...and it was far more than I ever expected.
The crossing was rough. As I was walking down the aisle, a man bumped into me. I excused myself, but he held my arm. “Sheila?” He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. “It’s Blaine,” he said.
Oh, my god. Blaine.
Flashback. It’s 1973 and I’m in Grade 2. There’s a new kid this year – and he’s really cute, like Davy Jones of the Monkees. He’s a soccer player and instantly becomes one of the “cool kids”.
I haven’t seen him in nearly 25 years, since we graduated from high school. We spend a few minutes catching up: “What a small world, meeting on the ferry! Gosh, how long has it been? Hey, did you hear about so-and-so?” He sits down with his co-workers, and I return to my seat, but I just can’t get back into my book.
Blaine...The memories flood into my head, overwhelming me.
We’re choosing up sides for softball in PE, and again, I’m chosen last. No one wants the skinny little girl with the thick glasses on their team. I’m put in left field where I miss everything that comes my way. I can’t catch or throw very well, and when it’s my turn at bat, I strike out. Sometimes I cry, which makes them jeer even more.
A couple years later. Recess. Some kids are playing squareball with one of those red rubber balls. I sit nearby with my nose buried in a book, hoping they’ll invite me to play. Finally, I hear my name. But they don’t want me to join the game. The ball’s gone down into the stairwell where the custodian goes to fix the boiler. The kids call it the Spit Pit. “Hey, Sheila, you can play with us if you go get the ball!” I know what’s going to happen, but I do it anyway. I just try to scramble up the stairs before too many of them can spit on me. I pretend it doesn’t bother me, but I can’t look at anyone when I hang up my coat in the cloakroom. They whisper. They point. They giggle.
Grade Seven. I sit alone at my desk, I walk by myself at lunch, and I pretend nothing the kids say can penetrate my invisible shield. One day, the bathroom stalls are painted...and on impulse, I write the initials of the two girls I hate the most plus the two most popular guys. One of them is Blaine. I get caught, and everyone knows it was me. Blaine comes up to me after school and softly asks, “Why did you do it?” This seems like the stupidest question ever – how could he not know what I went through? I can’t answer; I don’t know how to express all the years of hurt.
That was the last time I spoke to Blaine.
Sitting on the ferry, trying to read my book, my eyes swim with tears. I realize I need to say one more thing to him.
When the announcement comes to return to our cars, I tell my husband I’ll be right back. I touch Blaine’s arm and I take a deep breath. “I don’t know if you ever knew how hellish elementary school was for me, but I just wanted to say...you were always nice to me. Thank you.” He looks shocked, then he gives me a hug.
I’m crying in the car as we drive off the ferry, but they’re good tears. In saying those words to Blaine, I’ve found something I didn’t know I needed. I’ve forgiven those kids for picking on me. I’ve forgiven the kids who didn’t know or who looked away. And I’ve forgiven that lonely little girl for not standing up and defending herself.
So it’s true: eventually, I did run into someone I knew on the ferry. But I got a lot more than I bargained for. I found a piece of my past, like a sliver of glass that had been buried in my soul. And finally, after 30 years, I found that I could let go of that weight. I found forgiveness.
Sweater (Tobias), skirt (Planet), fishnet hose (Hue), shoes (Steve Madden), necklace (Plum), crystal stud earrings.