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.