Yesterday I had the best day of my (non-romantic) life. When I told Forest it was the best day of my life he said, "Better than the day we met?" and I teased him and said "yes". But I've decided that I am making a distinction between my romantic life (in which Forest-related things are at the top of every 'Best Of' list) and the rest of my life so that I can have yesterday as The Best Day Ever.
What's all this about, you ask? What happened? I'll try to convey the awesomeness: When I was growing up I had a nemesis. My 'hatred' of him started in the 5th grade. My "best friend" at the time had suddenly decided she couldn't stand me (as snooty little 10 year old girls are prone to do, I guess). My teacher (one of only three teachers I ever had during my K-12 education who didn't love me best of all students) had organized our desks into 4 columns, two desks in each of 4 rows (does that make sense?). My ex-BFF and Brad (nemesis) sat in the row in front of me. The desk next to me was empty. We had to do a State Report - a big huge project that took up like a whole quarter or something. My state was California (the best choice for a State Report, don't you think?). I SLACKED like nobody's business on this report. We were supposed to write away to the Chambers of Commerce of our states to get cool brochures and information about all the awesome stuff to do there. I was late in my request for awesome stuff and it didn't arrive before my report was due. So, my whole report was based on the information in my family's copy of the World Book Encyclopedia. It had to be, like, 10-pages long or something so I pretty much had to include everything from the encyclopedia entry. Including my 10-year old rendering of this:
The 'Average Precipitation Map' of California. When Ms. Lawson (evil teacher) called for our reports I passed mine forward, to Brad (evil nemesis) and Jamie (evil ex-BFF). Brad started flipping through my report and laughing about its contents to Jamie. Of particular amusement to them was my precipitation map. They laughed gleefully at its lameness. I sat there all alone and hated them. I hated them with every fiber of my 5th grade being (which was a lot, actually). From that moment, IT WAS ON.
I took every opportunity to make fun of Brad, the smartest, cutest, most-popular boy in school. I never stopped. He would express an opinion, I would challenge it. He would say something clever, I would roll my eyes and spat something mean back. Not to say this was one-sided. He was just as mean to me (after all, let's not forget who STARTED this whole thing by LAUGHING at whose carefully sketched precipitation map!!!).
We fought about everything. In Junior High our loathing of one another was infamous. We were each always on our toes when the other was around (which was all the time - as we had pretty much every class together) lest we be called out by the other and made a fool. On the first day of High School my French teacher had us fill in a worksheet that was sort of a meme. You completed sentences like, "My favorite thing is...", "In my free time I like to...", etc. For "I hate..." I entered "Brad B~". When I got my paper back she had written, "Hmmm...he's in my 2nd hour class. I will have to keep an eye on him." I felt a bit badly then, like "hate" was perhaps too strong a word and maybe he didn't quite deserve the ire of a new teacher on my account.
Eventually, I think, we pretty much dropped it. We were never friends, but by the time we graduated the nastiness had fallen out of our interactions for the most part (I mean, unless he said something reeeeaaally ridiculous). I had told Forest all about my nemesis and the interactions we had. In retrospect, I know that I was so mean to him (and other cute, smart, popular boys like him) as a defense mechanism. If I was bitchy and insufferable and they didn't like me, it was on my terms. But if I had been sweet/giggled at their jokes/batted my eyelashes at them and they didn't like me, well then it was on their terms. Let's just say I had more than a little insecurity/low self-esteem back in the day. I knew I could count on my quick-wit and acid-tongue to deflect any negative attention that might come to my lack of party invitations.
So...that brings us to yesterday. Forest was invited by a co-worker to go on a winery bus tour. It turned out that none of the other people in his department were planning to go along, so it was going to be us and a ton of the co-worker's friends. We arrived at 9 am and it was FREEZING. We got on the bus while the rest of the people were still arriving. I was looking out at the group of new arrivals and I gasped. Forest said, "What?" I said, "It's my nemesis!" I tried to tell myself it wasn't him. I thought, maybe there's someone else who looks exactly like how I would expect my nemesis to look at 32 (after all, I haven't seen him in 14 years). Forest asked me what I was going to say. I told him I wouldn't be bitchy - I was totally over it. I said he probably wouldn't recognize me (might not remember me?).
As the day wore on and more wine was consumed, Forest wanted to go say something to him - ask him if he thought I looked familiar or something. I forbade him. I said, "No!!! He has to come to me." Forest teased, "Totally over it, huh?" but he promised to behave. A couple of times I noticed Brad looking at me out of the corner of his eye, but we were always talking to different people in the group. At the second winery he made a point to come over to the group I was talking to and just stand there. Forest turned to him and stuck out his hand and said, "Hi! I'm Forest." He said, "I'm Brad" and turned to me and offered his hand. I said, "Hi Brad." and he acted like he was just realizing who I was (this was about 5 hours into the trip, mind you).
He told Forest that he and I used to fight about everything, but that he was a better person for it because it taught him that if he was going to say something, he better be able to back it up. He told Forest I was the smartest girl in school and that I was constantly 'calling bullshit' on him and that he respected me more than any other person he ever went to school with (and hey - that's saying something, since he has a master's degree from MIT). We talked and laughed and reminisced for the rest of the day. It.Was.Totally.Awesome.
So, how about you guys? Ever had a nemesis? Ever found out your nemesis had actually respected you all that time? Ever shared a lot of wine and had a cute picture snapped with your, now former, nemesis?