I am thirteen and long and lean and I have recently started shoving my glasses in the far recesses of my backpack which gives me an air of mystery and myopia. I smudge the hell out of my black eyeliner and wear short white shorts with black belts and my legs are mocha-flavored and colored and go on forever. I am a ferocious little writer, and think that my stories of romance and hauntings and date rape drugs and lemurs and ballet are Pulitzer worthy, so I go for a spot on a competitive writing team. I get in, practically shouting my victory in the face of a teacher who just the year before said that I was not a good writer, not at all, so I shouldn’t even try. Not only do I keep winning things at different levels of competition, I make it to the highest state level within the organization. I am a little bit more than pretty and I’m starting to realize that a good face and a cute figure will get a girl far in many different worlds.
At the state competition, which is held at a semi-far off liberal arts college, I am a total little hateful bitch. I insist on wearing dumb knitted hat that I got at a head shop in Yellow Springs and refuse to room with a really smart, nice, pretty girl from my school and another girl from a neighboring school. Though I like them very much (especially the one from my own school), I decide to switch rooms and stay with some other girls with flowing long hair…girls who will probably write about the horses they ride and the boys they like. The girls who will not win.
The reason I didn’t want to room with the pretty girl from my school is that she’s quiet. She’s smart and she’s so quiet and everything I blab on to her about sounds silly when it bounces back to my ears and I’m wearing that dumb floppy multi-colored hat that still smells like Black Love incense and all. The other girl I don’t want to room with because she’s from a very conservative Muslim family and she has to cover her head which weirds me out (told you I was nasty then). I was afraid that the one with the covered head would judge me for being too loosey goosey and wild and that I couldn’t talk with her or about her or anything else with the quiet pretty one from my school. So off with the horse girls I go. I sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag in their dorm room, forgoing a warm bed in the misfit room.
But guess what? Horse girl #1 with the curly chestnut hair just wants to talk about Jesus and when I dance that night with a boy from Cincinnati she says that my soul is endangered and that Jesus is all that matters. Horse girl #2 thinks it’s all funny but she’s a young thirteen so she’s out, too. I sneak out after too much Jesus and giggling and find another room that’s empty. I go find the boy from Cincinnati and I bring him up to the empty room. Thirteen and already sneaking away and giving things away and guess what I lose badly the next day in the competition…the story I write is forced because I’m thinking about all of the girls that I was mean to and the boy that kissed with a passion that felt older than thirteen. The boy who wanted to go much farther and I did too but instead I shoved and pushed and hurled him out of the room. I felt weird about him all of the sudden and I had that dumb hat on and all. So not only was I a mean little bitchy thing in a dumb hat but I was also a tease and after all the bad writing I did the next day I was a crummy writer to complete the whole embarrassing scene.
But I did fall deeply in love with that small college campus. How lovely and perfect it was that Spring. I loved the little chapel and the tiny dining halls with the floor to ceiling windows that provided uninterrupted views of the trees and the sky. How tiny and quaint and expensive it was.