1. I wrote this post for another website but other things happened and it wasn't used. When my editor read it she commented on the "vibrancy"of the writing and how well it was written and then she said, "it's literally a post about vomit" which forced a giggle out of me. I felt the need to share it anyway because why the hell not?
2. This is a really gross. Be happy that I'm not your child.
3. Happy Back to School, everyone.
"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket." ~Charles Peguy
I was seven years old; a second grader whose mother woke her each morning with a rap at the door and a shout-whisper of ‘Beanie! Beanie Barbum!” a pet name for me. “Time to get up!’ My mother was never one to make extravagant, as-seen-on-TV breakfasts but instead opted for quick and easy. Cheese toast was a popular favorite and often boiled eggs.
On this particular day, boiled eggs were the option. I was, after all, a growing girl who needed her protein. But there was something amiss, a gurgle in my tummy, or something that didn’t feel quite right. I I told my mother that I wasn’t feeling up to par. She rolled her eyes and shook her head as she put her hand to my forehead. “You’re fine and you’re going to be late” and she sent me off to the bus stop.
I sat on the left side of the bus - the driver’s side. I remember that my bus driver was a woman named Fran and the bus number was 1. I can tell you that instead of taking the main road to school we took the back way, to avoid heavy rush hour traffic. I’m assuming. Off to school we went, down my street through the entrance of a subdivision and out the back. Sometime between passing the neighborhood’s pool and making a left turn, my mouth started to feel warm. I swallowed a few times only to have spit fill my mouth. I swallowed once more and glanced out the window, hoping the others won’t notice. My eyes begin to water and fill with tears because I am still rather unsure of what is happening just that my seven year old tummy is bothering me and that my attempts to keep whatever is occurring within my body at bay, are futile.
And then it happens. We are on the final approach to school and I can no longer prevent my insides from being on my outside. A quarter mile from my elementary school and everything that had gone down during my breakfast came up. Eggs, probably some milk, a white cesspool of shame and sorrow as I sat on my school bus helpless, tears spilling onto my cheeks because I just vomited on my school bus. If, at seven, I had been well-versed in sarcasm and woe, I would have made some hyperbolic statement about never being able to go on the bus again and how my mother would have to drive me, both ways, to my new school three towns over as that would be the only way to alleviate the pain of that day.
We arrive at school where I am ushered to Mrs. Ostrander, the school nurse. She asks what happened and what I ate. I tell her about my eggs. My poor eggs. She calls my mother and all I can hear is the pity in her voice as she says, “Well, she threw up her boiled eggs”.
I was a sick little girl. A child whose body decided to broadcast her illness - a stomach bug - at the most inopportune time and a mother who had to get to work. Nothing more, nothing less and then it happened again.
I’ve been playing the clarinet for four years at this point and today is a band day - a Tuesday - at my middle school. Everything is fine as I make my way to the school bus with my overstuffed back pack and expensive woodwind. On this day I am sitting on the right side, the passenger side, but in the aisle seat right by the wheel. I look over at my seat mate and then to the floor below her which is how I can so distinctly remember the expanse due to the wheel well. It is then that I see a giant, phlegm filled glob of spit. Someone - probably a disgusting boy - had hocked a loogie on the bus and there it was, practically in my face as it jiggled around in synch with each bump on the road.
I quickly turn away but I can already sense that it’s too late. I have a sensitive stomach and I can feel the warmth in my throat once again. My face is getting hotter and I try to put it out of my mind and begin to read through my music book. But i am a child after all and I have to take one more peek and that is when it happens. I throw up all over the bus and I watch my vomit roll down the aisle towards the front as small children lift their feet in horror and despair. It’s on the bus, it is on me and it is on the clarinet case I had been gripping for several miles. The sight of my own upchuck causes me to heave once again. And again. And then once more for good measure as I am brought down by bile and subsequent dry heaves. I cannot look at anyone else as I hang my head in hopes that I am able to click my heels three times and be transported out of this misery.
We finally arrive at school and I am the first person off the bus. As I get outside to the fresh air I see Jason Stewart, with his mouth full of braces standing right in front of me. Jason Stewart whom I briefly dated during the sixth grade. I had been trying to win him back for a year to no avail. Jason Stewart who picks this moment to smile and say hi as I stand sheepishly on the sidewalk. I have to make a quick decision either flirt back or run for cover but there is no time. He walks up to me and starts to say something as I am holding my clarinet case which is covered in my bodily fluids. I can only look back at him and mumble something but he is unsure of what. I say it again but louder, “I just threw up…” and hold out my hands as a final sign of mercy. He catches air as he jumps back and makes a face of absolute disgust. “EW! Go!”, he spits out at me and I walk into school.