Monday, April 11, 2005

simple sweater, complex girl

"Oh! That sweater is terrible."

"Which? Ah, that sweater - I know just the type of girl to wear that sweater.

"Blonde, tiny, blue-eyed. On overcast days like these, she swears her eyes are grey - in fact, that's what she answers on forms beside EYE COLOUR. She's blonde because she dyes her hair, (otherwise, her hair's a mousy brown), and she's tiny because she has a high metabolism (and she exercises obsessively while eating improperly).

"She wasn't very popular in high school, but she wasn't really unpopular either, instead, falling into the lost crowd stuck in the middle of it all. She had her friends and they had her - nobody else really paid them much mind. At the time, she said that popularity didn't matter to her, but she wished so much that the cheerleaders would just pay her some attention. Even say hello. Just once.

"She started smoking when she was fifteen, quit for two weeks when she was nineteen, and quit again for good after her twenty-first birthday - though she still smokes when she drinks. Oh, and when she's stressed. Ah, yes, and after sex.

"Her virginity escaped from her in the passenger seat of a Toyota Camry when she was just sixteen years old. Though there was no force involved, she regretted it even while it was happening (for all two minutes of the act), and she has regretted it ever since. How did she deal with it? No, not by abstaining from sex like one might think, but by embracing the act with an enthusiasm only matched by the most gumptious of streetwalkers.

"She says she doesn't drink much - maybe once a month or so, in her own words - but, in fact, it's closer to two or three times a week. Or every weekend. And not just a bit, like she claims. Usually on the weekends - Thursday night through Sunday morning - she can be found falling down drunk, and staggering out of a nightclub at around two-thirty in the morning. She's usually one of the last ones there, hoping to extend the party, never wanting it to stop. And oftentimes it doesn't.

"In her second year of university (undeclared and undecided) the partying effected her grades to such an extent that she dropped out. To say she dropped out may be inaccurate as it implies a sudden departure from academia, which this was not. Instead, her decline was slow and painful. She wasn't willing to admit to herself that her current lifestyle was not conducive to productivity, so her decline took weeks, wasting both her time and that of her professors'.

"Just after the crash, she moved from part time to full time at the restaurant where she worked waiting tables. A month into that, her father died, and it took everything in her being to simply shed a single tear at his funeral. It's not that she hated him, because she truly did not, but she just was not able to feel sadness for his passing. There was no happiness either. No anger. No fear. No regret. Nothing.

"So, where is this girl now? She still thinks about going back to school, but she can't bring herself to quit the restaurant because she needs the money that it brings. (This is what she says, anyway, but the real reason she can't tear herself away is that she enjoys the feeling of camaraderie which working there brings. She is part of something - a group where she is accepted, where she is interesting, where she fits in.)

"She doesn't wear that sweater so much anymore. It sits on the top shelf of her closet, neatly folded, beneath a pile of other sweaters not worn in months. She keeps it in case she needs to wear it again. But she keeps it hidden because she's hoping not to. And with it cleared from her memory, maybe that time will never come."

"Wow, you got a lot from a simple sweater..."

"I've met that girl a few times - simple sweater, complex girl."

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