I remember when the first of my friends got her period. She stayed out of school that day because she was so scared something would go wrong and she would end up embarrassed. 5th graders are brutal.
Middle schoolers are worse.
All of my friends had gotten their periods. I was a “late bloomer,” according to myself.
And then one summer it happened to me too, and I was excited. For the only (other) time in my life.
That fall I started 8th grade. Which meant the gifted trip to Washington D.C..
An entire week of not being in school! Of staying in a hotel room with my friends! Of being a mock-grown-up!
The morning before we left I started my period. Because that’s Murphy’s Law for 8th grade girls.
My Mama was afraid tampons would give me TSS and kill me and I really had no idea how often I should change a pad. Being that this was only my 5th time ever having a period, I had very little idea what I was doing at all and the only bathroom readily available to me anyway was the one on the bus.
Cool kids do not use charter bus bathrooms.
So I didn’t. And I kind of forgot I was even on my period because I was having such a good time laughing with my friends and not being at school. Until I laughed really hard and felt the accident happen.
This was a bad, bad accident to have on a bus when all of my clothes were trapped in the cargo area underneath.
I panicked in my head then leaned over to my best friend’s ear and said “I think I just…uh… Can you check for me?” She looked at my backside and back at me and her eyes were as big as baseballs.
It was bad, y’all.
So we both panicked and then she went to the front of the bus to tell our teachers what had happened. At which point, I’m sure they also panicked.
Suddenly all three buses were pulling into a roadside rest stop and every single student was made to get off the bus. Except me.
I made my way into the on-bus bathroom to assess the damage. It was like I’d sat on a wet Rorshach test. A red one.
And I had to find a way to hide it for the rest of the day.
Enter the Starter Jacket.
(It was 1996. Starter jackets were cool and I desperately wanted to be cool. I needed a winter coat and Starter jackets were warm, so Mama bought me a Redskins jacket from a friend. He was an XXL. I was not. Why the Redskins? WHY NOT?
It was a Starter jacket.)
To say that it was too warm for that Redskins jacket is an understatement. Because I needed to cover my accident, I wore it into McDonalds and around Monticello, over my Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, thanking Jesus that the hem fell to my knees while pouring sweat.
Kids kept saying “Miranda, aren’t you hot? You’re sweating!” To which I replied, “Oh, I think I have a fever.” They just shrugged and took that as an acceptable reason for me to be wearing that jacket when it was 60 degrees out.
I made it to our hotel that night with no embarrassment. My peers were none the wiser. My jeans, however, were ruined.
That was 15 years ago. I still have no idea which Washington is home to the Redskins. I’m pretty certain they are a football team.
But trying to be cool saved my middle schooler life.
This one is a pretty big memory and is the reason why I still double up when the Lady Times are visiting.
And I have no idea what happened to the Starter jacket.