I was in the 5th grade and my best friend was Allen Levine. He was a skinny freckled boy with a country accent. Anyways we were best buds. We'd swim in pools and play sega and eat sugar sticks.
We were in Mrs. Beckett's class. I always got A's and Allen always got C's. We'd eat ice cream sandwiches and play soccer during recess. Then it turned December, and time for the school play.
Mrs. Beckett was very animated so she was really excited about the play and wanted to make a Broadway production. We were informed that instead of recess we'd be rehearsing for the play. She wrote up permission slips and sent them home for our parents to sign.
Mom: "Do you want to be in the play?"
She filled out that I would not be performing and I turned it in to Mrs. Beckett. I thought I would be one of many that passed on the play.
Apparently not. The next day the first rehearsal began, and the only people that weren't participating was a kid with a broken leg, a jewish guy named ryan levit or adam speer or something, and then me. That's it - the 3 of us.
We sat around for 2 hours while people tried out for the role of Santa, the head elf, and some other shitty roles. I didn't say a word to the cripple or the jew.
On the walk home from school that day I told everyone the reason I wasn't in the play was because I had a grandfather that was very religious and disapproved of plays. Pretty lame excuse but I was 12.
The next day it was announced Derek Goff would play the role of Santa. Derek was popular, mainly because it was rumored he got a blowjob from a girl in the bathroom of the baseball fields. That's how I found out about the ole BJ. Derek and I were cool, he would always slap my hypercolor shirt to make it change colors. Anyways Derek was Santa.
That day (while the jew, the cripple, and I sat and watched), our class began to learn the dance routine. Mrs. Beckett began pairing up boy/girl couples for the swirly, gay dance routine. I thought nothing of it until the unthinkable happened.
Allen was paired up with Melissa, my first ever crush. I felt my face get red and tingly as Melissa headed over to Allen, with a cute smile on her face.
The next month was nauseating. Instead of learning, they rehearsed. The next month was watching Melissa and Allen touch each other. Twirling and hand touching and dipping and the whole shibang. Meanwhile I'm sitting Indian-style next to Crip McCripple and Jew McJew.
One of the last days of rehearsal Mrs. Beckett decided to change the end of the dance routine. No more dip and bow. The new ending would be for the boys to kneel, and the girls to be behind the boys and put their head on top of the boys head. And then smile a reaaaaaaaaal happy smile.
The tingling returned to my face as I watched Melissa's sweet smile sit atop Allen's grin. Mrs. Beckett even made the comment that they looked really good together. Fucking Beckett and her comments and her fucking routine adjustments. I had to do something. I had to act. I couldn't just sit there and take it in anymore.
I looked down at my old white Reebok sneakers. The left shoe had a piece of plastic from the soul that was coming off. I used all my strength to rip it off. It was plasticy and dirty. I stared at it for a few seconds. And then I popped it my mouth and ate it.
I fucking ate a piece of my shoe. Honest to God.
What was funny is I specifically remember thinking "Yeah...this is cool. If anyone looks over they will see me chewing this and that will be cool," in a very serious, desperate way. But also deep down in my mind I knew it wasn't cool at all, and one day I'd look back and ask WTF?
Anyways that whole story was to let you know I ate shoe. I didn't go to the play but I heard the next day that Derek didn't mess up his lines. I'm sure the dance routine was a hit. Cute as fuck. Camcorders everywhere.
The play was over and things went back to normal. I went back to crushing on Melissa but doing nothing about it. Allen and I played sega and swam. Crip McCripple healed.
But I ate shoe. And that changes a person.