Our family had only lived in Louisiana for a couple of months when we piled into Mama’s Plymouth Duster and headed back to our home state of North Carolina. It was the middle of the school year and now I had to be the new kid on the block once again. I had seen how classmates treated the new kids before, and it wasn’t pretty. Being horribly shy and a hopeless introvert had its disadvantages for this thirteen-year-old.
In a lot of ways the new school was my worst fear. I was targeted by a football jock that swore I was after his girlfriend, some of the kids made fun of the way I dressed, and because I was shy, I was automatically labeled “stuck up”.
I was there less than a month when it happened. “It”, meaning a multidimensional experience.
The day was like any other for me, sitting quietly in the back of the room pretending to be reading while the other kids gathered in their cliques. My fourth-period teacher excused me from class a couple of minutes early so I could run a school errand. As I walked the long empty hallways, it dawned on me that I could be the first person in the cafeteria for submarine sandwich day! Normally the lunch lines were so long I often didn’t eat anything, but today was an opportunity to have lunch with enough time left over to run my errand.
It was liberating to have the hallways all to myself. I picked up speed and momentum with a single goal in mind: submarine sandwiches. My quick pace turned into a run, and I flew faster and faster through the corridors. Tennis shoes screeched, classrooms became a blur. Rounding the last corner, I easily jumped the final few steps toward my destination. I was already airborne when I realized the great speed I’d accumulated.Out of nowhere a brick overhang appeared. I hadn’t noticed it before. Bam! An explosion of pure white light shot through my entire body, rendering a sleeplike state over me. As the light faded, I became aware of hanging in midair as if I were standing on a magic carpet.
Then something grabbed my attention. A young lady walked through the science lab doors. She looked directly at me-suspended high over the stairs-screamed bloody murder, and disappeared back into the doors she had emerged from. Her scream rang through the science building and bled perfectly into the lunch bell that reverberated through me.
Suddenly I felt lighter. Enlightened. I was still hovering in the air when I saw him-some guy lying unconscious at the bottom of the cement steps. Actually he looked like a rag doll, I remember thinking. He had a serious knot across the top of his head. As I stared at the guy more closely, I couldn’t help but think he looked familiar. That’s when it hit me.
It was me!
My head was beginning to really hurt at this point. Suddenly I was pulled back into my body in what can only be described as a suction of internal light.
When I open my physical eyes everything was a blur. I could barely make out the teachers and students as they knelt over me, the new kid, the local freak show. I was so embarrassed, and completely helpless to resurrect my body. One of the teachers was pulling handfuls of hair out of the swollen bump on my head. Ironically, I was not bleeding. Within minutes my headache subsided and I was fine.
The teachers escorted me to the principles office when I lay down and reflected on what had just happened. I’d had out-of-body experiences like this one a lot as a kid, but never to the same extreme. I wasn’t necessarily afraid of the experiences, I just didn’t understand any of it.
By the end of sixth period I was fine and went to math class. It wasn’t until I was on the bus home that afternoon that I realized I never did eat that submarine sandwich lunch!