My hair used to be straight, all the way from the roots until the ends curved under my chin. I parted it down the middle and leaned forward so it would swish in front of my face. Then I would sweep my right fingertips across my forehead and tuck the wayward locks behind my left ear.
I used to wear black combat boots. I'd trudge through crowded hallways barely lifting my feet because they weighed ten extra pounds. I always wore flannel with my boots. I liked dark green patterns mixed with gray and cream.
I used to listen to Guns N Roses, not because I really liked them or anything but because everyone else did. Same with Nirvana. I didn't get them. I never knew "aqua sea foam shame." I liked Bush and I got them. I got Buffalo Tom, Oasis, and the Goo Goo Dolls too. They spoke to me. So did Mary. Not from experience because I had none. But their words sounded how I thought they should for when I went through the same thing.
I used to like boys with chin length hair that grazed the tops of their shoulders. Straight or wavy, it didn't matter. I liked their corduroy pants, Chuck Taylors, and auto mechanic shirts. I stared at them all the time.
I used to think I was just like the girls on TV. I was going to be just like them. Weird, smart, misunderstood, awkward, yet adorable enough for a boy with chin length hair and corduroy pants to like me. I used to be able to make Angela Chase's sad face, nose wrinkled, eyes wide, mouth drawn. I used to talk to like Julia Sallinger, complete with hand wringing and head scratching. I used to close my eyes because it was supposed to hurt to look at the world. I don't think it did. But I could emote.
I don't straighten my hair anymore. My combat boots are long gone. I like men with fresh cut Caesars who wear Timbs, Uptowns, or Cole Haans. I think most girls on TV are stupid and have no interest in going through what they do. I can no longer make Angela's sad face. One of my very own replaced it. I get Guns N Roses now. I know what November rain is. The Goo Goo Dolls and Oasis aren't nearly as sad as I thought they were. I don't have to imagine what Mary was experiencing. I'm there and doing my own version of it. I think I prefer emoting. And I wish I still had my flannel shirts.