If I want to write something angry, I can always write about V. That usually works. I can focus on her unfairness to me, or I can look at how she was violated, resist my urge to think she courted it, see her as a damaged girl hungry for attention and getting rape, calling it seduction. She lost her virginity at lunchtime to an unemployed man whose yard she cut through on the way to school. I had gotten high at lunch alone, and in choir that day she laughed a secret laugh to herself. I resented her and saw she was drunk and wondered how she had the nerve. That was the day he seduced her and she was finally on the other side, a virgin no more. I envied her advancement but not her method, stopping in on a man with nothing better to do than bed a teenage girl with no self-worth who happened to be in his yard.
Yeah, it’s cynical of me to hold a grudge, never mind how she hurt me, so hurt herself, struggling to come up to the air of a loving relationship, which she did find, she did find one, but that involved drama too because he was married and had to leave his wife of 20 years to marry her. Soulmates, she said, it was meant to be and I, crass, said something about choice.
I never understood her.
I loved her, though. We went through the crucible of teen years together, drinking a lot and getting high, seeking boys (her) or loving them from afar (me). And I never told her about my pain because I knew it would be a competition. Who was most damaged. Who was most hurt. She always won.
The fun part was watching her do Janis Joplin or Madame de Forniet or the librarian and laughing and laughing. This was our escape, she entertaining, me laughing, in a place where pain was tamped down and barely calling to us to attend, attend to the hurt and heal it, girl.
We weren’t ready for that. Gin and dope worked more quickly, and cars and boys and men.