LATE BLOOMER • by Bill Snodgrass

When Mary Katherine Cooper was twenty years old, she looked like she was fourteen. It was quite a shock to some of her professors. When she graduated two years later, even the cap and gown hadn’t given her the mature, accomplished look she had hoped for.

She stood at the dresser and flipped the pages of her high school yearbook. High school. Those had been the days!

As a freshman, she had looked about ten. It was only in retrospect that she appreciated not having to deal with her womanly cycles until after junior high and freshman phys ed. That silver lining was too late realized to be of much consolation in the face of persistent peer scrutiny.

At least she had reaped the benefit of her mother’s insistent push through ballet, gymnastics, and tap classes. Even as a freshman, she had made the varsity cheerleading squad, and was for four years the undisputed owner of the top of the pyramid. She was also the favored projectile of the male cheerleaders who competed among themselves to see who could hurl her highest.

Her position on the cheerleading squad was her primary claim to any social position in the school. Mary Katherine presumed that it was more being a cheerleader than anything that had allowed her to be picked as Chess Club Queen–picked over Anna Green, the only other girl in chess club.

Otherwise, throughout high school, Mary Katherine had been rather far down the list of popularity. She dated very little–none at all until her junior year. That year, she had her first date. She attended the Junior/Senior Banquet (juniors and seniors ONLY) with Brad Flanagan, a junior friend in chemistry class that dated a sophomore who was ineligible to attend. Her senior year, however, she had a steady boyfriend for a little while. Kevin Douglas was a junior whose parents wouldn’t allow him to drive, and Mary Katherine was satisfied with the relationship, even though she was certain it was her convertible to which Kevin was most attracted. They dated through second and third quarters, then broke up. Two days after Kevin got his own license.

High school had been tough, no doubt about it. Mary Katherine closed her yearbook and looked across the room.

Not a bad hotel, she concluded as she turned back to the mirror. She passed the brush once more through her hair, then glanced again at the yearbook.

When Mary Katherine Cooper graduated from high school, she was eighteen, but looked about twelve. But she didn’t care any more. In fact, she was deeply satisfied. Things change, time passes, and twenty-fifth high school reunions come around, whether you want them to or not.

And sometimes, things just work themselves out. She was forty-three, but Kate Cooper looked like she was twenty-five.

Bill Snodgrass is a professor at VISIBLE SCHOOL College of Music and Worship Arts, the President and Executive Director of Double-Edged Publishing, Inc, a graduate student at Memphis Theological Seminary, and he sometimes finds time to write what he wants to write. Bill’s wife is his biggest supporter and his two sons are his greatest fans. That makes him very happy.

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