It was a school day. It was sunny, but crisp for April. The weather at the beginning of Tornado season was always unpredictable. I was in the hallway, passing from Mrs. Pearson’s English class to Mrs. Pitt’s pre-algebra class. I held my regulation 5-inch binder close to my chest, just like the sixteen other girls in my seventh-grade class. The boys in our grade had recently created a game in which points were awarded for slapping binders out of girls’ hands during passing period. The snap of flesh on plastic, then the smack of the binder hitting the floor, loosening it’s rings and spewing paper shrapnel down the hallway was their glory and our mortification.
I happened to be one of the girls—bony, be-spectacled and Chiclet-breasted as I was—for which the most de-bindering points were awarded.
So I hugged my binder tight against my ribs.
It was a rowdy passing, as all passing periods are in middle school even a small parochial school like Holy Redeemer on the south side of Oklahoma City. We were crammed in the hallway with the sixth grade and the eighth grade classes between 9:00am and 9:02am, when the BOOM rattled the building.