Like a smoker who fingers their pack through the pocket of their jeans, I fixate on my stolen Staples pen, and the notebook that I payed for, fair and square.
I’ll use that old crutch writing to help me make sense again.
Everything I see is through a type of haze that makes real life become a dream sequence. The world echoes like a movie set. Last night as I was walking home, I saw a video playing inside of a storefront that showed a young model clawing her way out of layers and layers of plastic wrap. On the other side of the street was a real-life girl laughing with her posse, wearing a top with a scooped back so low that it touched her waistband. Even here, where the air seems so much more clear but my head still definitely isn’t, that dog has a pant that seems louder than its lungs should allow, and the woman walking it seems suited to be an extra. There are two girls in matching leopard print leggings who stop to watch it. I’m sitting next to a white haired lady, and when a plane passes overhead, we both look up- the same instant and angle. It’s comical.
What’s comical is that all of a sudden I feel completely transported. I have slipped and slid backwards in time and although I feel slightly like Sisyphus, this is exactly where I wanted to land and I’d been aching to lose my footing. Because here- here- I am in my room, that room that retained all its vestiges of childhood femininity. Tucked away in corners and drawers and jewelry chests are all the cheap beads and plastic hair clips, the sparkly Hannah Montana scarves that gleam with sewed-on sequins. This room is easy and familiar and if I could safely drown in the knick knacks and ballet clothing I would. I don’t have to let anything go, if I don’t want to.
It’s the endurance of these things that built friendships like mine. The years collected over top of one another, settling gently on talk of playground crushes and letting pink glitter leotards peek through. And when I made new friends, went to new sleepovers, those memories simply became a new layer, and they’d be stronger for the weight of time and tradition that they would have to bear.
That was the unique beauty of growing up in suburbia: you never had to move. In fact it was encouraged to sit still, and I wanted to, because it gave me time to set up intricate dioramas with Playmobil figures. I made a home at the houses of my best friends and sifted through their piles too, and we could pick out what we wanted to play with with no concern for chronology. We learned a sense of object permanence: our past and present would always, always exist.
We learned to take our town for granted, to stay safe, and happy, and still.
We learned how to cling onto each other. Like ice cream, it was unhealthy. But what’s so wrong with being sweet?