Marie was my friend, too, but she was totally against me drinking and smoking. She liked Sandy, but she worried about me. We would always have Duran Duran, but I remained that girl with her. She was my first friend to belong to the Mantle Layer.
I now placed people in layers. Or strata. Rings. Whatever. It looked a lot like Earth:
I started labeling people by layer, so I knew who I couldÂ trust. Everyone started as Crust and would be treated as such until they proved themselves worthy toÂ get closer to my core.
Only Sandy was inÂ my Inner Core. And sometimes my mom. But that was it.
I studied like I’d never studied before. It was hard, but not impossible. Moving to third world countries spontaneously as a kid made me adaptable.
My first report card GPA was a 3.14.
It was clear that IÂ was never going to fit inÂ at Sparks Middle, so I quit trying to fit in. I turned 12 in November and being that much closer to 13 gave me even more strength. I was practically a grown-up.
My second GPA was a 3.50.
I didn’t give a shit what all theÂ assholes thought of me because I was already better than them in my mind. I picked Reno High as my next school. Yeah, this time I did the picking. It was the coolest, richest school in all of Reno that happened to be the furthest away from Sparks High.
I upped my game. I started making friends with the outcasts, the bullied and those who couldn’t afford to wear Benetton and Guess Jeans. If I could help just one loser become a badass like me, I’d done my job.
I was walking down the school hall one crisp morning, when the perfect opportunity found me.
“Horse fucker! How do you like that horse dick?!?”
I turned around and saw the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in person, running down the hall and crying. I threw on my invisible superwoman cape and chased after her.
She was huddled on the very same concrete birdÂ shit stoop where the blue banana incident occurred. Full circle, man.
I came close to her and she flinched, like an abused animal. The warmth of our breath gave our words shape.
Brie looked like a mix between Marilyn Monroe back when she was Norma Jean and Bridget Moynahan. Her lips were full, she wore a D cup by the seventh grade and she had a mole in just the perfect spot above her lip. She even looked beautiful when she cried.
I was a year ahead of her. She was a bit too voluptuous, a little too pretty and a touch too smart. Ugly ass bullies hated chicks like Brie. Her name alone caused those gargoyles to glow red with anger.
Brie was a fancy cheese that no one living in Sparks had probably ever even eaten, not a name. But her real problem was – she told the wrong person that she lived on a horse ranch (on the weekends) and rode horses.
Thus – she was a horse fucker.
Once they sniffed out uniqueness of any kind, the bullies would find the stupidest thing to brand on us. (Like when I was a dog fucker and a dyke.)Â She was the perfect project for me. I’d experienced her pain and broken free. I was older and wiser.
I also felt like I wanted to kiss her the moment we met. And I’m talking make out, not peck. On this very day, on the poop stoop, I realized that I might be gay.