Sunday, June 20, 2010


One last time I went to see luna. Without tucker this time

I rang her doorbell and her dad eyed me up and down before turning and screaming her name.
She wasn’t angry anymore, she just had this resigned air

We sat on the front steps looking at the late afternoon sunshine until at last she said
“I’m leaving.”

I stared at her through my hair, trying to decipher that.

“my parents…insisted on a drug test. They started asking these questions about my friends, my schoolwork, boys. I’ve done the one thing they’ve found inexcusable.”

“I know,” I said softly. “did they want to…what. Get you help?”

“My god” she said. “I don’t need help.”

I let that hang. “Luna. Your friendships are breaking down. You lash out. You party. It affects your schoolwork. You stopped caring about your future. And I genuinely think you might be a chameleon.”

“A chameleon?”

“who are you, Luna? You change your personality for fun. I can’t find you in all the bells and whistles.”

“I hate you, jenny.” She said, but without heat. I shrugged.

There was nothing left to say. We had a shared past, but it was suddenly clear she wasn’t interested in more. With badly disguised longing she asked about Tucker.

She’s enrolled in some boarding school for troubled teen girls. Reform school, except you’re not supposed to call it that anymore. It’s in upstate New York, with the cows and the horses and Republicans. She’ll probably hate it there. She’ll probably start an uprising. Or she’ll become a sheep.

Is this what a fall looks like? I thought I’d feel better about it. Where’s my closure?

[picture from here.]
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blowin' Up Ma Phone [Confessions, Pt III]


At 3:18 PM Saturday afternoon I got woken up again by my cell phone buzzing. I was too sleepy to pick it up but it was Tucker and he wouldn’t stop calling and calling and when he stopped the house phone rang then I got a text from Ashley saying “Tuckers looking for u, didn’t tell him anything just that ur home” and I listened to the message and it said:

“Jenny. Jenny. Where the hell are you? Are you ok? You were really messed up last night and when I woke up just now you were gone and I freaked and I can’t find you anywhere. Call me, please.”

And the second said:
“ok. Ashley says you’re ok. But please, call me. I want to talk to you. I know you might’ve freaked because of us and last night—hell, just call me, ok?”

And the third said:
“JENNY. Jenny. Jennifer. I—ohmygod. GOD!” he screamed and I flinched. “I just heard from Rose that Luna got rushed to the ER last night to get her stomach pumped and she’s still in the hospital because they can’t find her parents to sign her out so I opened up google on my phone to do a search for the hospital and PLANNED PARENTHOOD DIRECTIONS are on the screen! And money’s missing from my wallet! And you’re the only one who knows the code to unlock my phone. What the FUCK, Jenny I--“

And here the message cut off. The fourth said:
“Sorry. The machine cut me off and now I’m a little calmed, but Jenny, what the HELL do you think is going on? That I took advantage of you? Jenny you were so messed up you couldn’t even remember your name. Jenny. I would NEVER. NOTHING HAPPENED. I kissed you. I held you while you threw up. I fell asleep watching to make sure you didn’t throw up in your sleep and choke and die. NOTHING HAPPENED. CALL ME. please.”

I put my head down and laughed until I cried.

[Side note: if this post had a soundtrack, it'd be "Telephone" by Lady Gaga Feat. Beyonce]

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In the Baths [Confessions, Pt II]


I woke wedged between a coffee table and Tucker’s unyielding form. We appeared to be in a sun-filled living room and the couches and arm chairs and rugs were piled with sleeping bodies. How undignified.

I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and washed my face, trying to get all the makeup smeared under my eyes off. I sat on the toilet and wondered to myself, what happened last night? I looked down for a moment and—

Little flashes. Tucker spinning me around and laughing. Laughing loud, a deep-bellied laugh. Someone asking “Where’s Luna?” and feeling a little surge of panic. Stumbling on entangled limbs when I opened the bathroom door. And lastly, laying down in the softest floor I’d ever encountered at the end of the night.

Someone barged in. “Shit—sorry!” I stood quickly.

“No, Ashley. It’s fine. I was just, um, thinking.” She stood there in the doorway for a minute, looking at me like I was fascinating.

“Only you, Jenny, would ponder existentialism with a guy from last night’s party snoring in the tub.” Automatically I glanced over. Oops.

“I, um, missed him. So what’s…Ashley?” She ignored, leaning over and snapping her fingers in the guys face.

He woke with a start. “Well, darlin’, aren’t you just a dream come true.” He leered through his hangover and the suggestive pictures drawn on his face in Sharpie.

“Good morning, Chad. Get out. I have a crying girl who needs the facilities.”

“Aye aye, cap’n!” He gave a half-hearted salute and wobbled out of the bathroom in his boxers, rubbing the back of his neck. Ashley shook her head.

“He's mighty cheery for someone who partied the night away. So are you, actually,” I said.

“Oh, I didn’t drink,” she said. When I blinked, surprised, she shrugged. “James was here and I get…affectionate. Didn’t want to risk a moment of weakness. Not like my girl Gwen.”

“What did Gwen do?”

“You mean who did Gwen do.” She shook her head again, this time disgustedly.

I blinked again. “Oh, then you were, um, serious about the bathroom. I’ll just—yeah.”

Ashley waved her hand. She left then suddenly poked her head back in. “Hey, Jenny. I’m not sure if this is too much to ask, but—er, can you get us a ride?”

“A ride? Like a ride home?”

“No. A ride to Planned Parenthood. She needs Plan B like now. God, my friends are stupid.”

I thought it over really fast. “Yeah, lemme just…grab Tucker and we’ll—"

“Oh. No, it’d be better if we didn’t tell anyone. Especially a boy. Hold up, I’ll be right back.”

I scrambled up and crept through the living room and grabbed my purse and a little plastic bag with some random clothes. And there were my shoes. When I headed back to the bathroom I found Ashley leaning on the floor outside the wall, looking grim.

“She insisted on a shower,” she said. “Something about feeling gross.” She looked down and away. I knew that emotion. Shame.

Without a word I turned back around and snitched $4o from Tuckers wallet just in case and searched for directions on his iPhone. I hesitated, then grabbed his keys.. I went back towards the impromptu baptism, gripping Tucker’s keys tighter, and knew he’d understand. I was driving that nameless girl to the damned clinic.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Substance-Induced Amnesia [Confessions, Pt I]


Before the limo, everything’s quiet. But the second you get into the limo and everyone scrambles into their afterprom dress…suddenly, it’s about reckless and out of control and who can drink fastest, scream loudest and take pictures that maximize the amount of fun you seem to be having when they’re later posted on Facebook. It’s more than letting loose, it’s about hitting rock bottom then digging deeper, it’s about doing something worthy of TFLN or last night’s party or Tucker Max.

The evening started blurring in the party after some guy did a shot then licked the salt off Luna’s neck and Tucker and I linked arms like a couple getting married and flipped them back and slammed them down then went to dance And always, always the dance floor is too tight and if you misstep you careen into a fist-pumping boy and some of those boys are doing the jump and chant and the one closest scraped his heels ALL THE WAY down the backs of my ankles. And it’s hot, so hot and you’re dying for water which you should drink anyway.

and the club is supposed to stay open til 4 but someone got caught in the ladies’ room with a boy and another girl got caught with Xannies so they kick us out around 2. we all pile back into the limo and drove to Zeke’s because his parents went somewhere, he’s not sure where, and will probably stumble home tomorrow morning and not to worry. And all of Tucker’s friends come, and all of Rose’s and Ashley’s and that kid Petya from English class with a boys’ crew and a smooth way with the co-eds but no Luna and we don’t stop partying but it gets hot

Tucker and me outside for air and I’m suddenly so enthused with giddiness I spin giggling across the lawn even though it’s cold out and the moon is almost gone but the stars are out and Tucker suddenly grabs my arm and pulls me towards him and I stop spinning, confused and he kisses me and—

We’re back inside dancing but it’s the close kind, the kind that gives off vibes and another shot and—

Black. My memory goes black.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

omission or obligation


I thought I wasn’t going to put this up. I told myself that I had no obligation, that I kept this blog for myself. But I’ve committed to it now. I told myself, to avoid losing myself in all this mess, I should make my private thoughts public, so that my thoughts and actions and little hypocrisies are subject to the public, to the jury of my peers. Or at least available to them. It would obligate me to staying true to myself.

And to omit this would be a lie by omission. So, the ugly parts of prom will follow:

part I

part II

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the world as my oyster.


Tonight at dusk, Tucker and I crept over to Luna’s house and called her cell phone. We circled around the backyard and through the grass, which was cold with dew although the night air was only cool.

She popped open a window and hopped out, barefoot, hair unkempt and nail polish chipped.
“What the hell?” was Tucker’s charming opener.

“I’m grounded,” Luna said brusquely. While we gaped—Luna’s parents didn’t do grounded, the did negligence—she flipped her hair over her shoulder. “What the hell do you want?”

Tucker blinked, scowled. “We are trying to ascertain whether you are in good health, physically and mentally and maybe even emotionally. We are trying to be there for you.”

“Then maybe,” she retorted, “you should have watched my back at afterprom instead of going off to neck under the moonlight.”

There was an ugly silence during which my cheeks slowly flushed. Luna looked from face to face.

“You’re kidding,” she said flatly. “This is too precious for words. Feckin’ Tucker and little Jenny sittin’ in a tree, making love and peace and happiness. Wow, Jenny, you really committed to the cliché, hunh? Cashin’ in the ole vcard on Prom Night. I may puke with the sickly sweetness of it all.”

Tucker was enraged. “How dare you talk to Jenny like that! She hasn’t done a thing. She’s been nice to you, defended you when I haven’t. How dare you throw slander at her like that after all the times I’ve driven you to clinics and held your hair back and cut you off and drove you home.”

“So??” she screamed. "I’ve done the same for you. And you know what? Whatever. Jenny plays the good little girl, but no one stays that innocent. One day she’ll be just as twisted as you and me. And you—that little good girl vibe, that wholesomeness you wouldn’t stop talking about when we first hung out with her—it doesn’t rub off, dipshit. You’re trying to be good when you’re just as messed up as me! At least I’m self aware! I don’t delude myself!”

There was a little silence. Tucker spoke, calmer now: “Luna, this time you’ve gone too far with your hypocrisy. I know you think you’re untouchable, but you can’t talk your way out of this mess this time with that silvered tongue of yours. You have to appear in court, for crissakes. That’s not something to brush off.”

“Whatever,” Luna replied, looking away, the fight gone out of her.

“I’m through, Luna. I’m done holding your hair back and listening to you spew this crap. I’m out. Jenny, let’s go.” Tucker left, not looking back. Stomping through the grass. I lingered.

“Luna…please. It doesn’t have to be this way. Turn it around. Repent. Tell the judge you’re sorry, turn over a new leaf. Talk to your parents. See someone. Apologize to Tucker.”

She snorted. “You’re that kind of girl, Jenny. If the world were your oyster, you’d send it back to the farm to grow old and make pearls and tiny, adorable little baby oyster. The farm would be green and the oyster would live and die happily, free from pollutants and French chefs and tacky nouveau riche who think oysters and pink champagne are status. But really, it’s Maybachs and sleeping pill addictions that tell you money’s been bottled, chilled, and properly aged. But I bet you didn’t know that.”

She met my eyes dead-on, and I shivered. They had the dead look you see in inner-city cops and barracuda lawyers.

“Now, honey, I have predatory instincts. I would lever that sucker out and suck it down like fossil fuels at a Nascar convention. And squeeze a few fucking pearls out of it, too.”
She crawled back through the window and glided out of sight, and I was left staring into the empty frame.

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warning signs

our trip to some happy beachhouse has been canceled. i can't even begin to process what's happened in the past 48 hours. how perfectly stereotypical, to have a traumatic prom.

but luna...she's beyond reach. she got rushed to the emergency room to have her stomach pumped. at least, that's the word.

we can't find her. presumably, someone has cut her off. stopped her. maybe she's heeded the signs.

[photo from here.]
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Friday, June 11, 2010

scheduled like in prison

10 AM. Crawl out of bed.
11 AM to 12:3o PM. Hair & make-up.
12:3o to 2 PM. Find something to eat, try desperately not to muss anything.
2:3o to 3:3o PM. Pre-prom with Luna's group of eccentricities.
3:3o to 4:3o PM. Pre-prom with Rose and Tucker's Round Table.
5 to 6:30 PM. Parade around the gym for the school pre-prom.
7:3o PM. Arrive at prom.
12:3o AM. Leave prom.
1:3o to 4:3o AM. Afterprom party and various shenanigans.
5 to 6 AM. Postprom Breakfast. At least two people will fall asleep at the table.
7 AM. Crash in convenient location.
4:3o PM. Depart for beach house.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's sort of astonishing.
I tell my teachers I'll be missing one day of school, and they throw more information than I'd learn in law school at me.

I'm actually making tests up ahead of time. And papers. And presentations.

I cry nightly.

[photo from here.]

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vandalism as a public service

some things shouldn't be punishable by law.
like anything that can make passerby smile.

[picture from here.]
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

stuck at prom

Prom is Friday. I literally have to devote all of it to getting ready.
Tomorrow is nails, waxing, tweezing, etc.
Friday kicks off with hair and make up appointment, followed by pre-pre-prom at Tucker's friend Rose's house, followed by the school pre-prom in the gym, followed by prom, followed by afterprom, followed by the after afterprom breakfast, followed by crashing at someone house, followed the after prom weekend trip to someone's beach or summer house.

In case you were wondering, the picture
is from Duck Brand duct tape's Stuck at Prom scholarship contest. The outfit has to be made entirely of duct tape and must be worn to prom. You win a boatload of cash for college scholarships. have to weather the indignity. And show the pictures to your children.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

flight 2.0


Floating like Luna.
Flighty like Luna.
This is a ridiculous pose.

But it'd be just like her to float out a window on a tangent.

[photo from here.]
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dignified worship: i has it.


I too have been known to writhe around at the ecstasy of hipster pictures to admire. But I like to think I'm more dignified when I do it.

[photo from here.]
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Shelled&armored, but poking that little head out.
I'm like the teeny turtle, with my social life in Luna's hands, she of the fashion plate and endless stream of relationships. see: wedding band and nail polish.
One day, I'll be one of those fat turtles you see by the side of the road on vacations. Too heavy to pick up and to stubborn to move.
For now, off to lunch. I'll feed and grow big & strong.

[photo from here.]
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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Afterprom


Prom 2.0: the Explicit Version.

The war. I won it. I should take a victory lap. I feel like I just killed a rabid panther with my bare hands. I felled an empire with a slingshot. I slayed a dragon with a toothpick. I can go to afterprom. Afterprom is the party following prom where people do things that could get them sentenced to an afterlife of the Hellish variety. Normally, some enterprising individual will rent out club space in the city and charge admission. Tickets are a certain price and said individual usually makes a killing.

This year, Betty Walker rented out the ballroom of a hotel. It’s gorgeous and tickets are $55 a pop. More for VIP tickets. Plus limo fees. It will be full of writhing bodies and sin and substance abuse. Part of the prom experience.

And I won the battle. I can go. We’ll go from prom, change into our afterprom dresses, and party it up. afterward we’ll crash in some hotel room Luna’s friend rented.

The battle with my parents was epic. They don’t know how bad it gets, or they’d never let me go. Still, I’ve promised to stay with Tucker AT ALL TIMES. I text them every time I change locations. I have the local police precinct on speed dial. They’re so naïve.

I’m feeling…optimistic. I can go out there, I can be that girl, I’ll be just like everyone else. Sometimes conformity is a comfort. It’s strange. Now that I fit in with people…now that I act like them, at least on the surface, they know who I am. I guess sheep don’t look the same to other sheep.

Tucker and I will dance and Luna and I will do the girl bathroom buddy thing. I’ll see Ashley with her soon-to-be-ex, James of the wandering ways, and I will tell her how gorgeous and kickass she looks. Tucker’s Round Table will be momentarily stunned, then hit me with a barrage of witty and vastly gratifying flattery. Ivan, from my English class, whom I’ve always had a soft spot for, will turn his attention away from his incomparable date for just a second when I walk by. I will see and be seen. And I’ll leave my thoughts here.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

sunday afternoon whimsy


helpful hint:
those are rubber duckies.

a touch of whimsy for your idyllic, sunny Sunday afternoon.

[photo from here.]
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lock it down

Today was a good day. Tucker grilled in his backyard. His Round Table came over--his company of intellectual equals with dry senses of humor and witty one-liners. They sit around drinking sangria or PBR and making astute observations about pop culture and social interactions. They're quiet, low maintenance fun with snark and sass and self-awareness. And they regard my out of step comments as whimsy and off-kilter, not awkward.

Have I been wrong this whole time? Should I be looking for my own round table, instead of glam and scene and red cup parties? It smelled like the summers Kid Rock would sing about. The conversation was a little more high-brow, though.

[photo from here.]

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

red solo cup rebellion


okay. it was pretty glam at first. i felt old and cool and wild and uninhibited. but it's gotten kind of...boring. there's no variation to the routine. i know we're meant for more than this. it's just another red cup party.

so i'm for bed. i've got a trial run through for prom hair and makeup tomorrow and i would hate to sleep through my opportunity to blow like $8o on superficial adornment.

[pictures. top: screenshot of Asher Roth's "I Love College." bottom: courtesy of photobucket.]
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Friday, June 4, 2010

same old, same old

"Unique" by Larson

Theres nothing I can say that hasnt been said before.
So why should I bother to say anything anymore.
And what point would there be for me to talk.
I've tread only roads that others have walked.
I've grown so much and thought so many thoughts.
Though they are profound, there's a website thats not.
I've laughed at my own jokes that I knew were so clever.
Turns out they were in a movie thats been out forever.
I made up my own song once. I thought it was great.
Then I turned on the radio and I guess I was too late.
I cant even be miserable without getting in line.
Everyone's got reasons and they're all better than mine.
In a world filled with people that feel so alone,
why cant I have a thought of my own.
I know what you you're thinking its been done before.
So I'll present you my ass and show you the door.


It's probably wrong to relate to such obvious rhyming and such a...simplistic poem, but I can't afford to be snobby.

Maybe our difference comes in that we're aware of it? A girl can hope.

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this again

[fine print: When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.]

it's 4 AM and i just can't let go of it. shouldn't a zebra be striking? but they all just blend together...
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Sometimes in the hallway at school, I find myself counting sheep to stay awake. 1, 2, 3 girls with identical side ponytails and JanSport backpacks. 3, 5, 7, 10 boys in letter jackets with their last names embroidered over the heart. In case they forget how to spell their names. Or if the homicide investigators need to identify the body. There are the reasonably popular girls with no guy friends—trendy but conservative tops and jean shorts—6, 7, 8 of them. No one really sticks out and grabs my attention. If I knew all the gossip, I’d probably be busy drawing invisible relationship maps and chains and timelines, but as it is, they’re faceless to me.

Maybe that’s just how high school is. Hand everyone the same homework and expect the “right” answer. Expect them to adhere to a down-to-the-minute class schedule with military precision. Until the bell rings you will listen to this lecture and takes notes as though your very life is dependent on the Defenestration of Prague but the second the bell sounds you will get the hell out and forget all about it in favor of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Make them wait in line for food and the pencil sharpener. Have them meet Presidential Fitness standards in PE. After a while, the conformity becomes natural. Like prison. They just become another jumpsuit.

We all move through class and halls and conversations on auto-pilot. It’s terribly clichéd of me, but we’re all sleepwalking through our world. My days are lethargic and full of dazedness and apathetic teachers. In most classes, I play that game where I slowwwly drift asleep and my head slowwwly droops until snap! My neck jerks and I wake up and repeat the process.

So at night I stay up and feel powerful and innovative and full of raw ability if only I could reach and scratch my itch, get out there in the world and do something and ease my yearning. I can’t sleep so I stay up and doze erratically while my mind churns and plugs away. And I can blame my continued captivity on my intellectual restrictions. Once college comes around I’ll need a new excuse, like everyone else.

But for now, I’m full of sleeping potential.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Swans Mate for Life [it's all a lie!!]


Today I walked in during a free and a junior I know by sight was sobbing her poor little eyes out in the bathroom. She was one of those girls that wore so much mascara it looked ridiculous with her blonde hair. I’ve never seen the point in makeup that heavy for a day-to-day basis. What better way to prove you’re insecure than advertise that you cake on make up?

Now, she had raccoon eyes and black streaks down her cheeks. She heard me come in and defiantly wiped her cheeks and met my eyes. I hesitated, thinking about Luna. But I decided to be like Tucker and do what I wanted, despite what she’d say.

“Ashley…you alright? You want me to take you to the nurse?”

She glared at me and wet a paper towel. “Get out, Jane. I don’t need your pity or whatever.”

“It’s Jenny.” Woah. I’m never that assertive. I guess it helped that she was the vulnerable one here. And I knew she knew my name.

“Whatever.” She dabbed under her eyes. It wasn’t helping much.

“Seriously,” I said. “I won’t tell anyone.” I rummaged through my bag and pulled out a little tin of Vaseline lip therapy. “Here. If you rub it in than wipe it off, it’ll remove the makeup.”

She looked at it for a minute then snatched it out of my hand. Guess she cared about appearances, too. She rubbed it in and then wiped with the towel. She inspected her cheek and looked at me, surprised. “Woah,” she said.

“Yeah,” I replied, smiling. “It’s a good trick.”

“I should’ve known this would happen,” she muttered.

“What?” I asked, startled.

“My boyfriend. He…last weekend…ick. He hooked up with one of my friends.”

“James,” I said. “You’re dating James, right?”

“Yeah. Huge mistake.” She smiled bitterly. “Apparently, it’s been going on for a while. That’s what I get for trusting that jerk.”

“Um, if it’s any comfort, you’re prettier than he deserves.”

She blinked. “Wow. I don’t think I’ve heard another girl my age say that and mean it. Thanks.”

I shrugged.

“Why can’t people be like swans?” she asked.

“What?” I said. For once, I wasn’t the one leading with the non-sequiturs.

“Swans,” she said. “They bond for life.”

“Actually, they don’t. They’re unfaithful like every other species ever, basically.”

She looked at the ground again. “How do you know?”

“Some scientists gave paternity tests to the children of a bunch of animals. Something crazy like 50% of fathers were raising kids that weren’t theirs. I’ll message you the Times article.”

“Well, shit. I guess I’ll never find a good guy.” She smiled sadly. She was smiling a lot, even though she was clearly upset. And she was being pretty cool about my nerdy word vomit. I liked her.

“There’s still hope. There’s some kind of worm that like fuses their body together. They never cheat.”

“So…what? I find a guy and become a level 5 clinger? Or put him on a leash?”

“Screw that. Find one that wants you so bad he wouldn’t mind fusing to your hip.”

“Then he’s clingy! I don’t want that.” She giggled. “I have a friend whose bf gave her his Facebook password the first week they were together. They’re disgustingly cute. But it’s not my style.”

I shrugged and smiled again. “Then find one from like the 50% who don’t cheat. Not one like James, a nice one.”

“Like your boy Tucker?” she said, smiling slyly.

I blushed and looked at the ground and couldn’t get the words out to say we were just friends.

She laughed. “Nah, it’s cool. Congrats on prom, though. Luna must be pissed.”

We walked out together.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010



certain things catch and hold the eye. certain things have a glamor all their own.

photos (from top to bottom): The Great Gatsby's Robert Redford and Mia Farrow; Cyd Charisse; Katharine Mcphee.
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Inept or...ept?

After a weekend like that, it's sort of...reassuring to go back to school. There, consistency can be depended on.

And it's nice to feel less helpless. In class, all I need to do is answer questions capably and better than my peers, and I am a god among insects, as they say. On the weekends, dealing with the messy tangles of Luna and Tucker and a thousand other things, I am not so capable, not so proficient. I like feeling strong and skilled and in charge of my own path.

Picture from here.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brown-Eyed Girl v. Blue Steel


Luna has exquisite taste. Truly. Her own way of dressing may be…eccentric, but she has an eye for fit and line and color. She’s very thorough. I tried on dress after dress after dress. Some of them looked like shapeless sacks on the rack, until they clung to my every curve. And hawk-eyed Luna raked over every inch of me, for rumples or pulls in the fabric, for poorly-stitched seams, for hemlines and necklines and frayed edges.

It was fascinating. She was in her element. The shopgirl would suggest something that would “suit my figure” (read, somehow give my short and skinny the illusion of height and curves), and Luna’s take one look and snap “too skimpy” or “she’ll look like she’s playing dress up” or “the color won’t suit.” She’d be right every time.

We settled on a demure but elegant midnight blue short dress. Luna said it’d make me look sweet and yet edgy. I guess she’d know. But it won’t call undue attention to me, since I’m just a lowly Sophomore and must know my place.

I asked Luna about her gown. It’s floor-length and a deep olive green, to set off her skin tone. It has clean flowing lines and folds and she’ll be wearing gold jewelry and eye shadow. Luna, she has this feel about her. Even when she’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt, when she walks by, your eye looks to her. There’s something that draws your eye in; a vitality or a confidence or a fascination. She plays it up.

I think that fascination is the basis of her friendship with Tucker. No doubt he takes pleasure in understanding her more than anyone else; knowing the deeper thoughts and dreams of someone so off-setting. Tucker likes to understand things.

Luna admitted as much. We were in the handicapped dressing room and the hooks and bench were littered with dresses. I met her eyes in the mirror. I tried to mend things with Tucker, tried to explain why he was weary of how she acted in front of other people. I added to it the things she said and the lines she re-used and the little captivating tricks she seemed to recycle.

“Or maybe,” she said, “he understands me now. I was interesting before he got the trick of me. Now that I’m predictable, he doesn’t need to stay near to have access to me. He can dream it up in that big brain of his, or take little doses when he feels like it.”

“Luna, no one has ever found you predictable. Unless they predict that you’ll do something unpredictable. And that wouldn’t explain his friendship with me. I’m very constant.”

“You’re good. You’re kind and…empathetic. You care. You’re a nurturer. It’s something you see less and less. The only way you can stay that way in a small town like this is by isolating yourself from it.”

“I know that’s not how you want to be viewed, though.”

She shrugged. “Public perception is fluid. Easily manipulated.”

I digested that in silence. The way she said it… “Luna, you’re not…jealous of me, are you? You don’t want to…” I paused, licked my lips, and changed my mind. “Tucker’s right. You do it deliberately. You make yourself seem untouchable and cool and wild. But he’s also wrong. You are all that, actually. But sometimes…you’re like me. You want to be kind, even though you’re ruthless in that little social politics game.”

“That’s ridiculous. And you’re naïve. The world’s not that simple and that didn’t even make sense.”

I shook my head in irritation, trying to grasp a concept just out of reach. “Luna, what are your morals? I mean, do you have a sense of honor? Where do you draw the line? How far can you go in ruining someone’s life before you’ve gone too far? If you see a nice girl crying in the bathroom, do you ever just want to…I don’t know. Help her, comfort her, defend her?”

She was silent. I leaned in, searching her blank eyes. They were deep blue--indisputably blue. But there was something...gray, gray as granite about them, like a layer of steel lay behind that mess of blue-pigmented mess of nerves and mush. Iron hard, and impenetrable past that layer. In that second, her eyes refocused. She blinked, turning her expression down, and somehow her eyes and her expression were closed, hard--like a shield. Like that layer of steel. I saw a muscle on her jaw tighten, and knew that her little moment of sharing was over. I had done something wrong, off, again, and I might suffer for it. Luna's social instincts were flawless. I was sure she could tell when to stop trusting someone. I had overstayed my welcome on insights into her character.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Day of Rest


For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
--Genesis 2:2

…But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
--Exodus 20:10

The Sunday is one of the worst of my week. It starts off simple enough. I roll out of bed late, scrounge up something to eat, maybe watch TV or surf the internet. It’s 3 PM, and I think to myself, “No, I have plenty of time.” 6, 7, 8, still plenty of time. 9’o’clock hits and the panic sets in.

Homework. I have two papers and a slew of textbooks problems for math and a lab write-up for Chemistry. I have to read 20 pages for World History and take notes, because you know there will be a pop quiz tomorrow. Wait, I missed Friday’s notes. God, 47 pages plus all the vocab. And so on.

At 10, I start bargaining with the clock. Just let me finish my PowerPoint before 11 and I’ll be fine. 12 hits, and I start re-scheduling. I can copy the notes off that quiet guy during my free. I’ll scribble down some answers for math during lunch; he’s only going to check to see that we did it. if I get up at 6, I can do everything else. And past 2 AM, I’m not doing good work anyway. It’s more efficient if I sleep now and work tomorrow. So I rationalize my bedtime away, then realize it’s only 1 AM and I have all my work set out. So I log onto my blog site and write about it.

Then I realize tomorrow’s Memorial Day, and all this worry was for nothing. So now the schedule goes:

Immense relief

Stay up ‘til 3 AM puttering around internet

Rinse and repeat tomorrow night.

Post Script: It is with great regret that I must inform you that the average American student thinks of Monday holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President's Day in terms of the time they get off from school. The exception may be MLK Jr. Day, but I expect when people take equal rights for granted a little more (as they do soldiers, workers, and old dead white statesmen), it will follow suit.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do I Buy the Boutonniere?


Earlier this Week:

“Go to prom with me.”

I laughed. Tucker stared at me. “Tucker, you’re going with Luna. Luna, your best friend? You asked her in March, for crissakes.”

“Luna and I aren’t going together. So much the better.” He waited. I began to get annoyed.

“That’s it? You simply aren’t going? Does she know this? Is she gonna come claw my eyes out or what?”

“Look, it’s not that big a deal. We had a tiff.”

“A tiff?” I screeched. “So you’re giving me two weeks to find a dress, shoes, hair, makeup?!”

“It’s a little more than two weeks. And, well, you are an underclassman.”

I smiled in that snarky way I learned from my mother. “So I should be grateful.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. It’s just…” He growled and ran his hands through his hair, muttering apologies and curses.

I grabbed his hand. “Tucker, talk to me. What is going on?”

He sighed, angrily. “Luna and I had a fight.”


“She got asked to prom by one of her puppy dogs. And she tried to use it to make me jealous. And I got mad at her, since we’re only going as friends. And she said that since I like you so much better, I should take you. And I screamed fine!, and that I spend so much more time with you because she’s too busy playing at ringleader and playacting for her adoring fans.”

“…Tucker…What. Are. You. Talking. About. Adoring fans?”

“Look, you…Ugh. You don’t know her like I do. She puts on these airs. She constantly has to be witty and mysterious and she puts so much effort in to seeming spontaneous that she wears herself thin. A personality can’t be stretched out like that.”

“Tucker, that’s ridiculous. Luna doesn’t put anything on; she just is.”

He shook his head. “No, you don’t see her like I do. There’s something wrong with her. Everything she does is adopted and calculated for effect.”

“I think maybe you’re just disenchanted. I think she just is that way and you’re trying to impose order on chaos, trying to find some reason for her method or madness. But you’re wrong. Luna, like the universe, tends toward entropy.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree. Come to prom with me, and we’ll debate it further.”

“So you’ll stick it to Luna by proving her right?”

“No. I’m sick of doing things because of how they look to other people. Come with me because I want you to. It’s only junior prom, but at least this way I’ll remember it fondly.”

I know we all say that we don’t care about appearances, that we shouldn’t. But appearances are social glue. Your standing, your job, your college acceptances; it’s all about how people perceive you. And when you can’t hold that together, when you can’t project the illusion of some conformity, you lose ground. People want to know where you stand.

So Jenny, the lowly sophomore, the girl who can’t seem to color in the lines no matter how she tries, will trot through the prom dog-and-pony show. She’ll carefully slip on an over-sized corsage and stilt-wobble out in a new pair of heels and endure the faux-romance of the “just friends” couple at prom. All because Tucker has unraveled so much that he can’t be worried about appearances.

So my weekend was spent with all three of us ignoring the obvious issues. Keeping up appearances, if you will. Luna offered to go dress shopping with me tomorrow. Peace offering or obvious condescension? Or a pointed "I don't care" statement?

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