This is my 2nd week using Invisalign. I’ll go into more detail about my experiences in another post, but thought I’d start out by saying what prompted me to get it in the first place. Growing up, my parents never took us to the dentist for cleaning or check-ups. We just didn’t have the money. So of course, braces were also completely out of the question. I wasn’t exactly happy with my teeth, but wasn’t self-conscious of them either. But that changed in one day with one statement. All because of a boy in high school by the name of John. Uncannily, John has seemed to follow me my entire life. But our connection started my Junior year. We were in the same English class. One day, we were doing a team assignment. (Background: I was shy in school and had very few friends). Someone at the table said something so entirely funny that I guffawed out of nowhere. Of course, everyone stared at me, including John, who went on to say, “Wow, look at those teeth!” It’s like it happened yesterday. The memory is still so vivid. But that wasn’t the end of John’s influence on me and my self-esteem.
That same year, in that same class, he sat in front of me. For two days straight, he would reach behind him and caress my leg, slowly moving higher and higher till he’d reached my inner thigh. He’d say, “You like that?” Now, remember, I was a wallflower and had never had a boyfriend or had even been kissed yet. My reaction to his inappropriate touching was to stand as still as a statue. I pretended it wasn’t happening. Looking back now, that seems pretty ridiculous, but that was me. Finally, my teacher noticed and called me up after class. She asked if I wanted John to touch me that way and I said, “No.” He never touched me again.
In my Senior year, the student council brought in a dating service and had every student fill out a questionnaire. They fed the answers into a computerized program and determined who would be best matches for each other. John was in my homeroom that year, which is where they were handed out. At the top of my list of matches at 98% was John. Ugh. Then I heard him yell out, “What, Julie’s my top match?” Really, Universe? Really?
After high school, I thought I’d left behind the bullies, the cliques, and taunting and I was more than ready to move on to the next stage in life. Start fresh. One day, I was walking to my English class and guess who I passed in the hall? John. He was a student at my college. My college. I pretended I didn’t see him and walked past. But I could only avoid him so long because during my second trimester, I chose bowling for gym. Bad idea. I drove up to the bowling alley, and who did I see walking across the parking lot? John. Come on! He was in my bowling class? Yes, yes he was.
After college, I went out into the work force and got a position with a company. Even though it wasn’t in my major, the money was good. Fast forward ten years with the same company. One day, I saw a name come across my email that I thought I had left behind for good. A name that had seemed to always be there everywhere I turned. And now it was back. John. Oh, universe, why????
Well, I’ve got a plan for John. At the next holiday party, with my teeth gleaming white and straight as can be, I’m going to walk right up to him, smile wide, and say, “How’s life been treating you?”