Monday, March 27, 2017

24. NOTE

It was warm. Folded into a little white “football” triangle, striped with the thin blue lines of notebook paper, soft with the warmth of being nested between the desk chair and her thigh. She passed it to me when the teacher wasn’t looking. Across the aisle, that eternal space the teacher walked down now and then. I was an obedient rebel child, which left me feeling pretty much lonely and awkward, like I wanted to belong but never did. Now that I am old I realize I was in good company, but then, I felt like a loner. So, when she reached across the ocean of the aisle and tapped my leg, and I looked at the note in her hand, I almost didn’t reach over to accept it. But I did take it, almost shaking in unbelief - because… because I was a Mormon girl in a NOT Mormon community. And I was a girl whose parents were separated, in a town where kids had both moms and dads at home. And I was an Idaho girl transplanted to a steel mill town, and I pronounced my O’s differently, and I couldn't get comfortable saying “younz”.  I had all sorts of not normal going on, and that …THAT made me strange. And people didn’t do normal things with strange girls. So, this meant one of two things...either she was strange, too. Or I was…what?... normal? Normal enough to have a note passed to me across the forbidden classroom aisle?
It was a normal kind of note. One that just said something like “what are you doing after school Tuesday?” or “Meet me in the Hall after third period” Really, I don’t even remember if it was elementary school or Middle School. I only remember that I felt, strangely…normal. At a time when I longed to feel normal. A time when I felt everything and anything but normal. I kept that note, and every subsequent note, in a box under my bed. Collected them like they were love letters, like they were telegrams, like they were certified mail.
What was written was of little consequence. The exchange was the gift.
Now days we tap our fingers on our phones or our computers and pass notes to each other. It still makes me feel special, kind of acceptable, if not normal. Normal isn’t so important for me anymore.
Speaking of notes - it seems fitting to me that the way we communicate through music is with notes. I sometimes feel, when I am playing and singing a song I have written, like I am passing a note; across the aisle, across the room, across the stage and through vibrating speakers. I scribble my ponderings on a piece of blue lined paper, fold it into my heart and stretch my hand out hoping someone is willing to take it. And when I sit in church and we are preparing for the sacred sacrament, we all add our names to the same note, sent heavenward, asking God to meet us at the altar when the song is done. We seal our names to the notes like a congregational petition, hoping he will reach across the aisle and take the offering from us, warm and honest and sincere. Little love notes to God.

1 comment:

  1. When I taught middle school I remember always wishing I could somehow get the kids to believe me that nobody felt normal and nobody felt like they fit in entirely, even if they acted like it. Then I wished I could convince them that normal isn't all that interesting anyway so they ought to embrace their wierdness - but of course as an adult it's hard to convince a preteen of anything.