“You can have my iPod – but don’t lose it,”
My brother warned me
His eyes serious, tone dangerous:
I dare you to lose it
Was the underlying meaning
I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade
I was small and scared of people not liking me
So I was a doormat, a people pleaser
Scared to say “no.” Terrified of confrontation
After my brother graced me with his iPod
I would listen to it often
Take out the thick, gray, cold device in class
Too big to fit in my pockets
So I would leave it on my desk
While the headphones fit snugly in my ears
And drowned out the sound of class
And filled me instead with its music
Relaxed. Focused. Content.
The day came when my iPod found itself an admirer
My fellow classmate – seeing it on my desk so often
Claire was her name. Pretty, dirty blonde hair
Welcoming smile and she was popular
“Pegah, I love your iPod! Mind if I borrow it for a day?”
A friend. Someone who complimented me, I found as a good friend immediately
Me, a doormat, a people pleaser. Scared to say “no.”
“Ya!” I blurted out, “you can borrow it then.”
The next day, I gave Claire my iPod
She was grateful. Promised to bring it back the next day
I felt good. I was generous enough to give her something
She probably didn’t have
During recess I saw her with her friends
Shiny gray iPod in her hands
She seemed happy
The day after,
Ready to have the iPod back in my hands,
I went up to Claire
“Hi Claire,” I said.
A small moment of silence passed
“Do you think I can have my iPod back?”
“Yeah, actually, about that. Can I give it back to you tomorrow?”
Doormat. People pleaser. Scared to say “no.”
“Yeah, that’s okay!”
I told myself that it was fine:
One more day wouldn’t hurt
She was my friend, after all
The next day, I came up to Claire
This time I decided to pass up talking to her in class
Didn’t want to bother her
Instead I went up to her after school had ended
In a beautiful grassy area
Where students waited for the bus
I started to get nervous. I don’t know why
“Do . . . you have my iPod? I need it because
It’s actually my brother’s. You see, he wants it back.”
Her eyes were unreadable when she looked at me.
“I’m sorry,” she started off
My heart dropped. My brother was going to kill me
“But I lost your iPod. I don’t know where it is
I’m sooo sorry.”
She actually didn’t seem to care at all.
Her eyes were unreadable
Terrified of confrontation
My words didn’t come out until I forced myself to speak
What came out:
A betrayal to the inner me.
The confident me. The angry me.
A comfort to the outer me.
The doormat me. The people pleaser me.
“Oh . . . are you sure you lost it?
I really need it back. But if you lost it,
That’s okay. Just let me know
If you find my iPod, Claire.”
I told my parents what happened. And my brother
Are you stupid? Do you have a tongue?
Can’t you tell her it’s yours? That she’s
Now responsible for paying for it?
Are you stupid, Pegah? You don’t know how to talk to people.
I was indeed stupid. Very stupid
A few months later, I saw Claire
With my brother’s iPod in her hands.
I knew it was his – the same scratch
On the upper right hand corner