This story is by Marketa M. Bumpus,MS and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Fall is Forever
-Last Day of Junior High School-
“Put down your pencils”, “time is up”, and “ and pass your papers to your neighbors”, said Mrs. Andrews. I was in no way prepared for my final pop quiz in my eighth-grade math class. I was an all “A” student and never took my education for granted, but the whole day I had been daydreaming about John Baldwin, the guy who I secretly admired. He was an athletic handsome muscular fellow in my gym class who was the star of the football team.To me he was perfect in every way. He had good grades, good looks, popularity, and all the girls in junior high had a crush on him. I was very sceptical to approach him and even look in his direction if I thought he was looking at me because, I was definitely not the prettiest girl in junior high.I was a shy tall slender fourteen year old girl with thick lense glasses, braces, and skinny bird legs. My thick brown hair, which wrapped my slender oval face, carelessly hung a little past my shoulders. My mother named me after the most colorful season which brought about many festivities, cool breezes, and the taste of pumpkin pie and warm apple cider. Fall was my name and the season that described everything about me.
The girl sitting next to me quickly handed me my graded math quiz. “ You done horrible”, she said in a loud annoying voice. Mrs. Andrews quickly strutted over to me and took my paper out of my hand and studied the grade and the questions. Mrs. Andrews turned and took my paper back to her desk. I quickly glanced at the clock noticing that this was the final hour of my junior high school experience. My mind starting racing, I had promised myself that during junior high that I was going up to John Baldwin and spark a conversation and this would be the start of our romantic relationship, but this never happened. I knew that this was the end of a moment in time that I could never rekindle. I let procrastination, shyness, and self-doubt hinder me.
“Fall come to my desk please”, said Mrs. Andrews. “Fall is waving her branches”! The short stuby kid in the corner that always teased me about my height and braces, was starting to make his usually harsh comments about me. “Shut up, you dumb fat kid”! The girl that always sat beside me in math class, seemed to always defend me. My height and my name gave fuel to some of my foolish boy peers who teased me and referred to me as a tree with branches. I knew that I was the odd, and this is what held me back from “John Baldwin”, the guy I truly loved.
Mrs. Andrews was holding my graded math quiz in her hand, staring back at me with concern in her eyes. “ Fall would you like to explain to me why you failed the math quiz”? I could barely talk, because I knew that John Baldwin had been on my mind the whole day. “ Fall you are a very bright person, don’t let some childish crush get in the way of your education”! “ Your grade is now a “B+” in my class”. Mrs. Andrews handed me back my graded math quiz with a big “F” written in bold letters. While stumbling back to my seat, I wondered how Mrs. Andrews knew about my crush, but then I turned my math quiz over to see that I had written John Baldwin’s name on the back of it with smiley faces and hearts.
“You blew it, didn’t you”, said the girl beside me. The stubby kid in the corner heard the comment and said that maybe I should have had a quiz about the “Statue of Liberty”! The girl sitting beside me, immediately reacting, threw her notebook across the classroom and hit the stubby kid in the face. Mrs. Andrews got hysterical as the classroom of about 30 kids went up in laughter. She yelled at the girl beside me and the stubby kid to exit the classroom and head to the Principal’s office. Mrs. Andrews voice was interrupted by the loud throbbing sound of the bell ringing, which made my heart skip several beats. I couldn’t believe that my last day of junior high school had ended. I walked the halls slowly toward the exit hoping that I could see John Baldwin for the last time and maybe catch his eye and smile at him, but he was nowhere to be found. I frantically looked around for my long lost love, as the hallways filled up with 7th and 8th graders saying their happy goodbyes to their friends. My emotions began to get the best of me as tears flooded my eyes. As I got closer to the exit, I could see the brake lights of my mother’s mini van which was sitting idle close by the double glass doors. I knew she would be in a hurry because we had planned to pick my father up at the airport as soon as I got out of school, he was a traveling marketing executive for a computer software company, he came home every other weekend. When I got outside and opened the door to my mother’s van, streams of tears was flowing down my face. My mother stopped in her tracks and analyzed my reaction. “Fall, you’re just growing up”she said. “High school is not going to be so bad, you have to learn how to talk, and make friends”.
-Summer Break; Year 1985-
Over the summer I remember I had gotten a little taller. My height was becoming more of a problem to me, and I saw it as opportunity to be rejected more by my peers. My parents kept my spirits high by throwing big outdoor parties for family and friends. They didn’t need a reason to celebrate. My mother and father were both these social extraverts that thrived off the company of others. I thought it was unusual for them to have a child like me, who had a hard time fitting in, even with people that I knew well. When my parents threw these extravagant parties, I would often go outdoors to my old swing set from childhood and sit there and watch the guests socialize. This became a frequent thing for me until my parents threw their last party for the summer. I was sitting alone on the swing set looking from afar at my parents house which was filled with people, loud laughter, music, and the smell of hamburgers marinating on the grill. All of a sudden I could hear the squeaky swing beside me began to rock back and forth. I immediately turned and there was this guy about my age. He held out his hand and introduced himself as the son of my father’s boss. “ Just call me Rick”, he said. He explained that my dad worked for his dad who is the founder of a computer software company. From that day on, Rick grew to be my best friend. We basically done everything together.
During the fall of 1991, he proposed and we were both married at nineteen years of age. Rick came from a wealthy family because his father’s computer software company had much financial success. As the years grew older, our marriage grew colder. His job with his family’s computer software business kept him away from me for several weeks and sometimes months at a time. While home alone in our big mansion, one day I got an unexpected call from Mercy Hospital. A doctor with the first name John wanting to speak with my husband Rick. For some reason, I couldn’t catch the doctor’s last name, so I called the hospital back when the doctor refused to talk to me over the phone. The number on the caller-ID was a number to the hospital’s labor and delivery unit. I actually got in my car and went up to Mercy Hospital thinking that my husband had gotten hurt. I gave the nurse at the registration desk my husband’s name and she directed me up to the labor and delivery unit. I paced the hallway getting ready to get back on the elevator, until I heard what sounded like my husband’s voice. I followed the vibration to his voice to a hospital room at the end of the hallway. This was the moment that my life changed for the better when I saw my husband holding a newborn child in his hand and a woman standing beside him. Two nurses flowed past me into the room congratulating my husband and this unknown woman about their newly born child. I immediately turned to walk away, and there was this handsome muscular fellow with the name John Baldwin, MD stitched perfectly on his long white coat.