Julian came home today, one very rainy Friday afternoon. Shorts, no jacket.
"Well that was the worst day ever!" he exclaimed, exhilarated and spilling over with a story. He likes to give me little teasers. I respond in kind by delaying his obvious desire to tell it to me by asking him lame Mom questions like would he like a hot drink. When I offered a hot chocolate or a "hot-chata" (a made up drink inspired by horchata), he replied "the former." And I laughed again at this not-so-little nerd.
He reminded me how he and his two friends would write in invisible ink on their assignments the names of their crushes. Maybe in sentence form, maybe just the name. Many times. On anything they could? And they'd use their special lights to reveal the hidden messages and look at it and.. laugh? Smile knowingly? Revel in the secret-sharing only 6th graders can? This, too, made me laugh.
He showed to me a handful of broken up pieces of plastic which I presume to be one of the pens. He followed me into the kitchen where he poured a glass of water and dropped something in. The light. The invisible ink-revealing flashlight.
"What?" I said. "Don't break it!"
"NO, Ma," he said, resolute.
"Can't you just leave it at home?"
He was not going to risk anything like this again, though I kind of hope he gets his hands on another set of invisible ink pens because he was using them just how I'd wished he would.
As he tested and re-tested the functionality of the light, he told me the tale of how this shared secret among three friends was revealed today, resulting in glorious mass humiliation among his peers. Their secret, it turns out, was discovered by the art teacher. Because, as he explained, they'd made the mistake of telling her today that they'd written the names of their crushes on their art project.
I asked him what they had written exactly. He said, “just hearts and person + person.”
The story continued.
"Never trust an art teacher," he solemnly proclaimed, so convincing in its universality that I had to pause and ask myself if that was correct. The whole story had me laughing, especially because whenever he'd state the names of crushes, he'd say the names of his friends and their crushes-- "Jacob and Abby. Devon and Sara." But when referring to himself, he'd self-censor:
"Julian and BZZZZZT." He bleeped out his crush's name every single time. Some things moms just can't ever know, even though I guessed it last year when he gave me too many clues.
This story was also peppered by fake swears, bleeped-out words, or Russian swears. "Blyat," he'd mutter. I apologize to all my Russian readers (shoot, here come the hackers) for the severity of this swear word but it's hilarious that this weirdo uses it. Also, I'm proud that I spelled it right the first time. I do hear it a lot.
As art teachers can never be trusted, his immediately told their secret to their homeroom teacher who, as bad luck would have it, happened to find a misplaced invisible ink flashlight on the ground on Tuesday. She must have bided her time well, not knowing when the reward would reveal itself, because when the art teacher told her the exact location to the secret messages, she very publicly produced the dropped pen and made an announcement to all, The moment had come.
When I said to him, "it serves you right" due to 1) being careless with the light, and 2) telling the art teacher the exact location (so trusting, children), he said, "that's what our teacher said." Who gleefully used the light on the today-hung-up-on-the-wall art project and shined the secret for all to see.
"Doesn't your crush already know?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "She's known since 4th grade. But now EVERYONE knows."
And, resigned, he once again tested the drowned ultraviolet light hoping to see it had finally died. It had not. (Blyat.)