Between sixth and seventh grade I cut all my hair off to look like Julie Andrews did in The Sound of Music. If I couldn’t sing like her, maybe I could look like her.
It didn’t work.
That was also the summer I got glasses.
Then came seventh grade orientation. Spotted a group of girls that I’d been friends with in sixth grade. Practically ran down the aisle of the junior high auditorium to sit with them. But when I got there, they barely spoke.
They said a half-hearted ‘hi,’ but it was clear from their tone of voice.
From their blank stares.
From the way they awkwardly turned back to their own conversations and left me standing there in the aisle in front of everyone.
It was clear that I didn’t belong.
My mother had brought me, so I made the long walk to the back of the auditorium and sat with her. I would rather the earth have opened up and swallowed me.
I didn’t have a very good track record for fitting in with groups of girls before that happened.
And after that, I almost stopped trying…..
It was my turn to host Bunko this week.
For those who aren’t familiar, Bunko is a simple dice game where you see how many sixes you can roll over ten games. I play it once a month with a group of 12 women whose main purpose in getting together is really to eat dinner and talk. Rolling dice just gives us a reason to award prizes at the end.
They asked me to join their group nearly ten years ago, when I first moved here. I didn’t tell them that I’d always sneered at Bunko groups.
Or made fun of friends who played.
I think Bunko is modern-day Bridge for women who use their brains all day, but still want to make the effort to connect with friends. And unlike Bridge, Bunko allows you to keep talking while you’re playing the game.
That’s what it’s all about.
I loved it from the first time they asked me to be a replacement for a member who couldn’t come one night.
I loved winning a prize.
I loved the food.
I loved all the conversations.
I loved it when they invited me to be a part of their regular group.
Lo and behold, I loved Bunko.
If you want to know the truth, it was the seventh grader in me who loved it.
Glad I didn’t give up trying.