Looking now at your photo, you must have been the total nerd that I was. We went our separate ways when in separate schools with separate interests; you completely lost me at “cheerleader.” But for three years I loved the braided country oval rag rug in your livingroom, and the guinea pigs that ate their young, and the drinking-water birds on the mantel, and your stupid David Cassidy record. I hated you the time I slept over because everything smelled different and I couldn’t wait to go home, clutching the kleenex doll clothes we made so tightly in my hand.
I wanted to be you and I wanted to get as far away as possible away from you. In 7th grade you called me a baby, knowing that the word would shoot straight into my soul leaving me shattered into a million pieces of shameful skipped-a-grade not-quite puberty. You knew my vulnerabilities and you used them to wound me over and over, but I couldn’t stay away. In 8th grade you were my 5th period best pal only because acting like you liked me kept you safe from the 2nd chair flute who would never challenge her 1st chair friend. [UPDATE: Edited to add that clearly I am not talking…