Wednesday, September 27, 2006


1993 was the year I was supposed to have graduated high school. In March I moved into my own apartment, a decision my mother and I mutually and eagerly agreed to. I had shared cramped quarters with at least four other people my whole life. My bedroom alone seemed cavernous. Worried about making the $250 monthly rent on my part-time prep cook salary, I took on a roommate. She was six years older and had been severely mentally, emotionally and sexually abused as a child. She compulsively exercised and cleaned (the sink was expected to be wiped down with a towel after each use), routinely seduced boys under the age of 18 and was prone to 4am crying jags. She purposely hid my Sade tapes, but she did get me listening to The Specials. My heart went out to her but I was 18 and had my own shit I hadn't even begun to work on.

I can’t really say why I stopped going to school. It happened gradually, class by class until I tried to only go to my AP Lit class. I was reading more than I could remember. I started to care more about staying in bed and reading than going to school. I stopped answering my door when my ride would come in the morning. I rode my bike everywhere. I had a lanky, balding Humbert Humbert for a next-door neighbor. He wanted to paint my toenails. I wanted him (and everyone else) to just leave me the fuck alone. My lit teacher jogged by one afternoon, a month or so since it had become clear I'd given up, and saw me sitting barefoot outside Restaurant On The Corner. He said “So that’s it?” and all I could say was “Yeah. I guess so.” He didn’t ask for his copies of Wise Blood and One Hundred Years of Solitude back. I still have them.

It was the summer of Radiohead’s “Creep” and Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes.” I stayed out all hours. I made out with my friends. I slept with a friend’s younger brother. I got drunk and hitchhiked with sketchy characters. By the end of summer I was nearly out of my head. I figured if I wasn’t going to college like all my friends, I would at least have an adventure.

I went on a road trip out West as the third wheel. Please, please, if you learn ANYTHING from reading this stupid blog, please promise me you will never ever go on a road trip with a passive aggressive couple. It will suck all the excitement and fun from the whole experience. In ways, though, ours was the perfectly clich├ęd road trip....breathtaking vistas, camping in the rain and snow, car trouble, screaming fights on the side of the road.

I got back to Arkansas the week that it snowed before Halloween. At a party I met my daughter’s father and was pregnant by New Year’s Eve.

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