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.”
“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.