Of Yesterday (and the Third of May)

The title rhymed. Please enjoy that for a moment longer, if you will.

Okay, that’s enough now.

Anyway, while I was laying in bed last night, about to drift to sleep, I realized that yesterday, I’d promised a story about a journal in the rain, but instead gave you… some crap about not throwing away diaries? Wait a second, I wrote that? What the hell is that? I’m sorry, but I am shocked and a bit miffed that I could actually write that badly. It isn’t even a story, for Christ’s sake.

Oh well, the past is the past, I suppose. The reason the last two “stories” were so awful is that I was tired when I wrote them, but I didn’t want to just not write them because I thought I should actually try to keep up with this whole Story a Day thing. However, I decided that instead of half-assing today’s story (pardon my swearing in this entry, I think it’s just one of those days), I would get a head start on it!

So during APES (AP Environmental Science, for those not familiar with the acronym), I started writing something that I pulled out of my metaphorical hat and I’m going to type it up now. It’s only about a quarter till 10, so I have time to actually think while writing this, instead of BSing it.

My name isn’t Josie. That’s what everyone thought it was, but it wasn’t. I remember when I came to be known as Josie, though, clear as a bell.

It was fourth grade. Kelly was a lovely name for a lovely girl, but the Kelly I knew was not a lovely girl at all. I wouldn’t learn that until much later, though, so at the time, Kelly was just lovely enough.

“Hey,” Kelly said. Her green braces glittered in the light reflecting from the puddle I was playing in.

“Hi, Kelly!” I said happily to my Best Friend.

“We don’t like your name.”  I didn’t realize there was even a “we” involved, but I saw that she had brought along a posse of about five of her–our–closest friends. “Change it.”

I didn’t see the problem with my name, but I thought that I didn’t really see the problem with changing it, either, so I consented and asked what I should change it to.

“My older brother, he’s in seventh grade, and his name is Edmund, but he goes by Thomas,” Kelly announced.

I didn’t see how he ended got be called Thomas, or what that had to do with me. She continued. “My brother, who is in seventh grade, goes by Thomas because that’s is middle name.” Her little group cooed in admiration, as their positions as Kelly’s lackies mandated them. “What’s your middle name?”

“Uh…” I had to think it over for a second, not remembering the rarely-used name. While I thought, Kelly led the other girls in a chorus of laughter. “Jasmine!” I said. “My middle name is Jasmine…” I said it again, this time more quietly while I waited for the ruckus to die down.

“Perfect!” Kelly smiled and clapped her hands in delight. “Then we’ll call you Jasmine! Or Jazzy, for short.”

Her glowing grin was infectious, and I smiled with her. I’d never really had a nickname before, except when my mom called me “O”.

“Wait!” a girl protested. “My name is Jasmine, and I go by Jazzy for short!”

Kelly’s eyes darkened. I was quick to amend the situation.

“I can go by Josie, then: it’s a combination of both my names, but it doesn’t really sound like either one, right?”

Jazzy seemed to approve, and so did Kelly, who said, “Good.” She scoffed, then said, “Ozone! That’s a stupid name.” I did’t respond. “C’mon, Josie, let’s go play two-square.”

I was about to argue and say that we should play something that could include everybody, but I saw Kelly’s triumphant expression and decided that it would be fine this  one time.

Over the next couple of years, Kelly would continue to call me her Best Friend, but I grew close to Jazzy–whom I met for the first time that day and who was in a different class than I was–and we were good friends throughout middle school. We grew up spending equal parts of our time at each other’s–and Kelly’s–houses and we (well, Jazzy and I) came to be best friends.

One day, nearing the end of eighth grade, I snapped.

Jazzy and I were sewing costumes for the English class play. Neither the costumes nor the play were anything special–just some T-shirts and tutus and the like, thrown together to suggest the idea of Venice, and the play was nothing more than an extremely abridged Romeo and Juliet.

Jazzy and I took small pleasure in the fact that Kelly was the nurse, instead of Juliet. Juliet was played by a round, bespectacled girl who often wore floral print dresses.

Kelly still seemed to believe that she was in charge of us, though. “Josie, why don’t you run lines with me?”

“I’m working,” I said in the most patient voice I could manage. After putting up with this for a few weeks, I was getting sick of it.

“But it’s so hard to remember all of it!” she complained.

“You have, what? Ten stanzas total?” Jazzy asked.

“You can figure it out; all of your scenes are with Juliet, run lines with her,” I told her.

“I have a scene with Romeo…”

“Run lines with him.”

Her gaze moved slowly towards our Romeo. He was an ungainly kid, almost six feet tall and about ten inches around his hips, I wagered. Kelly’s expression said that she wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.

“C’mon, Ozone, just run lines with me!” she whined, hissing my name.

I stood up. My needle fell on the ground. “Don’t act like my name is a threat.”

“Ozone, Ozone, your name is Ozone!” she sing-songed, loudly enough that she was drawing a crowd. I heard snickers.

“What’s wrong with a name like Ozone?” I wondered to myself, sitting back down again.

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