Death of a Cheerleader

When I was thirteen, I had a huge crush on the boy who lived across the street.

He had dreamy brown eyes, and he totally rocked a short-sleeved plaid shirt.

Our little brothers were friends, and our little sisters were friends, and we were friends, as much as boys and girls could be friends in eighth grade. We would battle each other with rubber-band guns, or we would play basketball on the weatherbeaten court in the field behind his house. We didn’t have any classes together, but we sometimes exchanged notes in the halls (he wasn’t nearly as interesting a note-writer as my writer-friends were).

All of the blood left my head every time I saw him, but I didn’t really have any particular desire to have a junior-high romance with him. “Going with” someone didn’t make much sense to me, but that didn’t stop me from writing his name on my grocery bag book covers and asking the Ouija board if he “liked” me, too. My friends were very patient with me, and all of their ribbing of me was good-natured.

But then a girl in my Girl Scout troop started “going with” across-the-street boy. She was a cheerleader, and he played football, so it was a natural match, but for some reason, she decided we were rivals and acted accordingly. She was with him, and she missed no opportunity to rub it in. If she saw me when she was with him, she would quickly hug him and stick her tongue out at me behind his back. It was incredibly annoying.

So I did what any nerdy, literary-minded junior high schooler would do: I wrote a story about her. Read More