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FUN A DAY 2019 #10: Faith

She hated her nose, thought that it was too big, that it was shaped funny. I’d never thought of it that way, to me it was just another necessary part of her face, below her large, round, blue-green e more...

She hated her nose, thought that it was too big, that it was shaped funny. I’d never thought of it that way, to me it was just another necessary part of her face, below her large, round, blue-green eyes and just above her thin brown-pink lips that were always chapped. Her face was light brown, and so were her brows and hair, her hair was long and a little dull, always pulled back into a pony tail, she didn’t particularly care about it (or, not outside of keeping her bangs from getting and looking oily), and eventually hacked it all off. Something about her pony tail felt like a refusal to grow up, or to act ‘like a girl’, and her loose jeans and t shirts, and apparent discomfort in more feminine clothing did the same. She wasn’t particular tall or big, but her posture wasn’t very good. She hunched her shoulders slightly, and walked quickly, with long, aggressive strides, like someone who didn’t want to be bothered.
When she walked into the band room like that, looking distinctly uncomfortable in our school’s uniform of a kilt, white button down shirt, and sweater, my then girlfriend hit my arm gently and nodded towards her as she walked in the door, and said, “Check it out.” I looked at her, sizing her up, and then said to my girlfriend, “…you think?” Gf said, “Oh, totally.” I wasn’t convinced, and I also didn’t know then why spotting other people ‘like us’ was important, and I certainly didn’t automatically want to become friends with this girl. Or did I? I don’t really remember, I can’t remember how I became friends with her, the kind of friends who didn’t just say hi in the halls or whatever, but who got yelled at for talking too long on the landline, and for staying out too late on the weekends. I just remember that one day, we’d both gotten to rehearsal early, only a few other students there setting up their instruments and sheet music, and that she started singing “All the Small Things” in a nasal whine that made me laugh. The rest of us sang along, and after that, I knew that I wanted to talk to her more.
What I eventually found was that her body language, her hard gait, they made her seem tough, much tougher than she actually was, and the music she listened to made her seem a lot meaner than she was. She didn’t so much hate everything or even resent it as much as she thought it was astronomically stupid. She wasn’t a clown or a goofball, but she could clearly see that everyone took everything way too seriously, especially at our all-girl high school. We laughed at a lot of stuff together, and we did get pumped for bands and shows and movies like SLC Punk and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, which we went to see together in Manhattan. But we mostly just made our own bubble, or a bubble with her other friends, who were even funnier and wilder than she was, one where the church, boys, and top 40 radio had no place, and were given no quarter.
For all the punk she listened to, she wasn’t rebellious, and she definitely was not interested in identity politics (not an altogether unusual stance for a upper middle class white girl), much less confronting or even articulating her own identity. She was a literal Girl Scout, through our senior years of high school, and an acolyte at her church, where she’d been an altar girl, because it was easier than telling her otherwise pleasant but very demanding parents that she didn’t really want to anymore. She didn’t like confrontation, and she wasn’t in the habit of fighting for what she wanted, but she didn’t seem like she was scared or anxious, it seemed more like she just couldn’t get herself to care enough about anything to insist on it. I accepted this about her, or maybe didn’t understand enough about it at the time to argue with her about it or judge her for it. When that hardened into a certain kind of cowardice, after graduation, though, that would be much, much harder to forgive.
IMAGE attributed to Rufus Dayglo: ...less

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  • One year ago