Jun. 1, 2018

People I've known – The creepy girl on the playground

Funny the things you remember for no apparent reason. In 5th grade, I lived in Radcliff, Kentucky. My ex-stepfather (also known as the devil) was stationed at Fort Knox. I attended an elementary school in Radcliff. Because I was a military brat, we moved a lot and I ended up changing schools frequently. As a result, I met countless interesting and/or weird people.

One day I was on the playground with a bunch of other girls. None of them were friends, but instead, they were classmates hanging out and talking about silly stuff, as kids that age often do.

There was one girl who had shoulder-length, white blonde hair. All natural. She was what my mom called a 'towhead.' She had pale skin, too. I think her name was Kim, but I knew so many girls named Kim back in those days that it may not have been her name.

We were gathered in a circle, talking about spooky stuff – ghosts and the like – and she told us that, every now and then, she zoned out and entered into a trace, staring at nothing and not speaking or anything.

Of course, on some level, you figure it's a load of bullshit and she's likely making it up to scare us. But when you're sharing stories about weird and scary stuff, who cares? The goal is to terrify the piss out of everyone, including yourself.

We're all out there as a group of awkward elementary school girls, telling stories, laughing, and whatever else for a while. Then, out of the blue, Kim freezes. Her eyes stare forward. She's transfixed on something, though there wasn't anything interesting in front her. Nothing but a worn blacktop playground/basketball court and a bleak landscape, punctuated by the echoes of kids laughing and playing in the background. We tried to talk to her, but she was planted firmly to the ground, her skinny legs stalk straight and unmoving. She rarely blinked. She continued to stare at nothing.

A few minutes passed before she emerged from her alleged trance. Then, all of a sudden, she was back in the midst of the conversation, acting like she didn't know what we meant when we told her she'd zoned out. A couple girls shook her and asked, "Are you okay?" I didn't touch her, though.

Now, chances are it was fake and nothing but an act designed to creep us out. Kids do silly shit and play mind games like that. But still, with her near-white hair, pale skin, and staring icy-blue eyes, she was fucking creepy as hell. Bullshitting or not, she had the act down pat.

Not sure what happened to Kim (or whatever her name was), but maybe she grew up to be an actor and starred in horror movies or something. If she didn't, that girl missed her calling. Even today, decades later, I recall the blank, spooky expression on her face while her rigid body stood there, frozen, as she peered out into another world we obviously couldn't see. I still get chills over it.

Wonder where she is today? 
Does she still live in Kentucky? 
Is she still alive? 
Does she remember that day on the playground? 
Was she pulling our legs, or was it real?

My imagination wants to believe the latter, but my mind knows better.

Last night, as I battled another rough bout of insomnia and my mind wandered, I remembered that odd moment on the playground. And I shivered.