October 6th, 2009 12:01 AM
When I was in the fourth grade (about 9 years old) I had a best friend by the name of Deanna Johnson. Deanna was in several ways like me; tomboyish, dramatic, and far from the popular girls' standards of beauty. We got along and played together as most little girls do, ice skating at recess and make-believing that we were princesses, all the stuff of childhood memories.
Another thing that we had in common was that we both had a very competitive nature. You know that friend who believes herself to be ever so slightly superior to you and hangs out with you to prove it? That was Deanna to me, and I to her. Our friendship was also a constant struggle for superiority, be it in doll collections, gym class or grown-up things our mothers would occasionally allow us to do.
One day during Social Studies, our class watched a film where a group of women had red dots drawn on their foreheads and scarves wrapped around their heads. This fashion was exciting and foreign to us little Alaskan children. Upon questioning, Ms. Maloni gave us a brief history of the Bindi (or as much as she could tell us, coming from a Scottish background) and told us that sometimes shiny gems were used as Bindi as well.
The next day, I came to school proudly sporting a rather spiffy red Bindi between my eyebrows, drawn with a Crayola magic marker. But Deanna had done better. She had cut a tear drop-shaped gem away from a stick-on body tattoo and stuck the beautiful shining object to her forehead.
I was infinitely envious. This was the second time in a row that Deanna had one-upped me. A few weeks before, she had invited me to a sleepover at her house, where she had announced that her mom had let her watch a PG-13 movie with her. My mother had yet to give me such a privilege and I was jealous beyond belief.
The task ahead was clear. I HAD to come up with a better forehead decoration than my friend. She. Could. Not. Win. But how could I beat pretty jewels, one of the most awesome things in the world to a nine-year-old girl? Then it dawned on me.
My special Bindi had to be permanent.
And so the trials began. From the time I got off the bus that day and ran home to the time my mom came into my room to tell me to get back to bed, I had school in the morning, I had something small and circular pressed to my forehead. For a while, I used a plastic straw, remembering the games we'd played during lunches past sucking things up. But it was too hard to put enough pressure to make the mark last more than a few minutes. Finally, while rummaging through my mother's medicine cabinet, I had an epiphany. The glass eye-dropper that my mom had used on me when I had pink eye would be PERFECT for this! With this nifty little tool, I made the worst, grossest hicky-mark ever on my already very sore forehead. My parents grounded me, my classmates teased me, and Deanna was so smug that I couldn't talk to her for a week. My pride was shattered. Two hours of having an eye-dropper stuck painfully to my forehead had only made me look stupid and the mark, while red at times, was far from pretty. I hung my head in shame all that week.
My mother promised me that once the bruise went away, nothing would remain of my foolish face marking. But then wouldn't it have all been for nothing? I thought stubbornly to myself. So, that weekend as my mother was giving my baby brother a bath, I made a mad dash for the kitchen. Out came the metal whisk with the smooth handle, which would serve as my marker. On went my moo-cow oven mitts. Into the oven went the whisk. In an extremely fortunate turn of events, I thought I heard my mom coming down the stairs and took the whisk out earlier than the twenty minutes I was planning on heating it for. I turned it so that the handle faced me, aimed in a small mirror mounted to the fridge and pressed.
Five weeks of no dessert, no cartoons and no GameBoy? SO worth it to see the look on Deanna's face when I showed up to school with my permanent forehead mark.