I was an eccentric kid. I never was coventional in my traits and wants. When I was ten, I was perfectly happy reading “Little Women” in a tree branch or talking about 40′s movies with the doddering gentle-women at my mother’s beauty shop. As I became a teenager, I wasn’t much different. I was never one of those girls that sat in the bathroom between classes and longed for the one boy that everyone else was longing for. I didn’t tell my best friend in a note, during 6th period Geometry, about the boy who looked at me at lunch and smiled with a milk moustache and a cheese fry stuck up his nose.
I didn’t really care about boys at all. In fact, boys kind’ve weirded me out; it was the girls that fascinated me. As I watched them, it was the way that they looked and smelled, the way that their hair would swing gently in a rhymic motion down the hallway. How they knew “just” how to lacquer their hair with the mile high bangs. I kept thinking to myself, why wasn’t I able to do that? Why wouldn’t any of those girls talk to me? I don’t know, maybe it was I wanted to be their girlfriend instead of just their “girl” friend?
Julie. She was a blonde, charismatic, hippie chick, who was into Doc Martins, ripped jeans, flannel shirts, and Alternative Christian music. I only had one creative writing class with Julie. I was mesmerized by her, she was everything that I wasn’t and could never hope to be in high school. During class, I always made sure that I had a clear view of her radiance. She literally glittered in the florescent light and beige carpet. Julie was full of life and laughter, and when she spoke in class, she was brilliant and dripping with charm. She spoke of politics, and genocide, about empathy and apathy and her favorite food. It didn’t matter if she asked for a drink or water or she was on her soapbox about euthanasia in Africa. Julie commanded the classroom. She read aloud of her writings and they were not of a 16 year old girl, but of a 25 year old graduate student who is studying Poli-Sci with a minor in Women’s Studies. I was absolutely enthralled by her. But she never realized that I existed.
At the time, I was too ashamed to think that I was a girl that was into girls, so I never let on that I liked her. We spoke just a few times in class, but it was insufficient because I never said anything that I REALLY wanted to say to her. Like, “You’re brilliant, you’re beautiful, you are stunning. Want to be my girlfriend?” In 1993, being gay, was really not the way to shoot yourself up to the top of the high-school popularity food chain.
So, I admired her from a distance. Eventually, the class ended and she went her way and I went mine. I think about Julie every now and again and about our one sided tryst in high school. I saw her just once when I was in my early 20′s. I was working at a testing center and I looked up and there was Julie in emulating light from all directions. She still had the long, wheat-golden hair, the Doc Martins and flannel shirts, but before I could utter a syllable, a large man with a stroller comes swerving in behind her. I realized that the girl of my dreams had a husband and a baby. I put on my professional smile and helped her with her test, afterwards, I told her (in my most charming way) that my name was Dana and we had a creative writing class together in high-school. She looked up at me, bleary eyed and said, “I don’t remember you. I don’t think I ever took a creative writing class. Do you have my test results yet?”
My smile deflated as I told her the test scores (which were perfect…of course) and told her to have a nice day. She gathered her husband and baby and I never saw her again. I’ll think about Julie at odd moments in my life; at the grocery store, or buying shoes, or vaccuming the floor. I hope she is happy and I still wish that she was mine.