Groups of noisy 11 year-olds burst through the double doors, dispersing to the walls of instrument cases. Loud blares erupt from their horns even before they reach their seats. It’s the first day of 6th grade band at a new school. I, Bethany, the shy homeschooled girl, quietly slid into a comfortable spot on the end of second row of flutes. Hoping desperately to not be noticed by my obnoxious classmates. As seats around me filled, the glances and questions quickly started. “Who is this girl?”
As class began the director made few quick announcements. He then promptly pivoted to the right of his podium; directing all attention to the new student in class–ME. He stretched out his hand to introduce the shy girl with long blond hair to everyone. They stared. I slunk deeper down into my seat. My hands clenching my delicate silver flute tighter and tighter. Hot color filled my cheeks as I looked down at my shoes, hoping they wouldn’t pay me much notice. The director explained to the group how, even though I was just starting at their school, I’d been playing flute for a few years now. Many of the students around me turned and exchanged waves, said, “Hello,” and returned to their conversations. I thought the humiliation was over, until one voice in the back, a boy’s voice, called out something that made my hairs stand on end.
“Make her stand up!” he cried. “How mean of him to demand I stand up? Who does he think he is?” I thought to myself. Dread filled my stomach. The director agreed and made me, the shaking, shy girl, stand up to be seen by all. I felt a hundred pairs of eyes scanning me up and down, trying to figure out what this awkward girl was all about. After what felt like eternity, I received permission to sit back in my chair. All I desperately wanted was to blend in.
When the bell rang I quickly packed up my things and hurried out of the building. I wanted to be a part of the band, but the embarrassment I had just experienced was almost to much to bear.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, the mean boy’s name was Joey; and just nine years after he embarrassed me in that middle school band room, I became his wife.