What was really going on, I’d learn that day, was that Leigh was starting to go to parties, where both boys and alcohol (the deadly duo) were present. And no, I was not invited. And yes, a lot of that is probably because I would have disapproved, and because I probably would have said no anyway, because I was scared. And even though I knew that, it still hurt so much. I was being left behind, and that made me angry and sad. I wanted to go with her and I didn’t. I definitely didn’t want her to know me well enough to know that I would have been too afraid and reserved and rule oriented to go with her. I wanted her either to stand still and then reverse, or to twist my arm into growing up. She didn’t.
This is what I was thinking about on her floor, listening to Leigh tell me about her raucous, hard-lemonade-fueled night, and how much fun she’d had there with her new boyfriend, Andy, who was in the same group as Laura’s boyfriend. She was saying she was sorry that she couldn’t always hang out when I wanted to, but that “when you get a boyfriend,” he becomes the only person you want to spend all your time with. He becomes your best friend, and (this part was not said, but was definitively implied) the only friend that really matters. “You’ll know what I mean, when you get one,” she said.
So that’s when I gripped my upper jaw and pulled back the skin and muscle of my face to reveal an alien, like the one in the film Alien, and I jumped through the glass in Leigh’s window and ate every boyfriend in the city, and the country, and the world. I swallowed them whole, and many of them cried, and those were the ones I liked best.
I love the idea of the big life - the life that matters, the life that makes a difference. The life where stuff happens, where people take action. The opposite of the life where the girl can’t even speak to the boy she likes; the opposite of the life where the friends aren’t even good friends, and lots of days are wasted away feeling bored and kind of okay, like nothing matters much.
I know people who feel like they’ve wasted years of their lives because of poor choices. They spent years in a relationship that was toxic, years with an addiction, years at a job where they weren’t fulfilled. But you have to realize, nothing you have been through is ever wasted. Your past experiences, good and bad have deposited something on the inside of you. Those challenges have sharpened you to help make you who you are today.
sometimes i think about how weird it is how there aren’t more commercials on tv for books, but then i’ll actually see a commercial for a book and be like, “ah ooh, weird. this doesn’t feel right.”
I wonder if the publishing industry would be in better shape if they learned how to/had the budget to advertise on TV.