Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005


My brother’s 13-year-old daughter is staying with us for a couple of days, and as far as I can tell, she is just the nicest kid. Because I’ve told her: “You wanna go anywhere, we’ll go. You wanna go off by yourself—as long as it’s nearby, you take your cell phone, and I know where you are—that’s cool. You wanna eat anything, read anything, watch anything lying around the house, grab it and do so; or if we don’t have it, tell me and we’ll get it. The only rule for you here is ‘don’t give your parents a reason to kill me’.”

Among my five nieces, I’m sort of The Cool Aunt. Yet even so, all Camille seems to want to do is sit around and play with Sage until their other cousins can come by. This is utterly baffling to me.

When I was 13, there was hardly anyone in my life I wasn’t lying to, in order to cover up one thing or another that I wasn’t supposed to be doing and most enthusiastically was. For instance, I told my school friends that my boyfriend was a family friend; told my non-school friends that my boyfriend was the brother of a school friend; told my boyfriend that I was 16; and told my family that I was rehearsing for the school play when I was hanging out with said boyfriend. Because not only was I not supposed to start dating (and only group dating, at that) until I turned 18, I certainly wasn’t supposed to be seeing a motorcycle-riding, drug-taking, sexy-as-all-hell 19-year-old college dropout whom I just happened to meet at a mall fashion show. Ever.

You would think that the necessity of fabricating and maintaining this tissue of lies would have clued me in that something was wrong with this relationship, but that’s only because you didn’t know me when I was 13. In defense of my appalling stupidity over the next two years, however, let me just expound on the circumstances of our first meeting:

I was hanging around the mall when I decided to check out this fashion show that was going on. A couple of the male models were pretty darned cute, so, being me, I wriggled my way to the front of the crowd, ending up directly in front of the front end of the runway. It was there that I noticed that one of the models I had noticed had started noticing me. Even so, I figured it was just wishful thinking that he seemed to be smiling specifically at me… until, near the end of the show, he walked all the way to the end of the runway, got down on one knee, extended his hand to take my hand, and kissed it.

Now, come on! Any 13-year-old girl with half a hormone would be smitten; and boy, was I smote. Over the next couple of years, Miguel introduced me to kissing (The peck on the cheek I received from Boyfriend #1, when I was 11, doesn’t count), smoking, drinking, and drugs. (This list probably would’ve included sex if he hadn’t belatedly discovered my real age.) It wasn’t until I had to be rushed to an emergency room after downing a cocktail of alcohol, who-the-hell-knows-what illegal substances, and asthma medicine that I realized that, just possibly, this kind of thing wasn’t really for me.

So I broke up with Miguel—in a truly Made-for-TV scene of high drama—although it must be admitted that I backslid a time or two until I graduated high school and we lost track of each other. I haven’t touched even a joint since that night at the hospital, and I’m not too much of a drinker, either. Y’all know the smoking stayed with me, though.

Thirteen. I’m glad my niece is so much smarter than I was, and I certainly wouldn’t go back and do it all over again if you paid me… But I wouldn’t change a thing, either.

Not even that time when we stole someone's car.
Nikki bit in at 3:54 PM :: ::
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