1996 or so, early. thirteen years old. it was a snow day. we were at d.’s house, because it had the lowest amount of parental supervision. d. was a troubled loud crazy girl from a really fucked-up family who i was secretly in love with, e. was a pretty little blonde from a really fucked-up family (and who is still one of my best friends today!) and i was a tall awkward bookish dork from a really fucked-up family who was just coming out of my shell, just learning how to talk so people would listen, just learning how loud i could scream & what it could do.
anyway. three thirteen-year-olds (perhaps e. was 14 by then. she’s an aquarius.) snowy day. bored. this was before the interweb. sitting in d.’s living room we saw some teenage boys walking by us. we dared d. to say something to them. she opened the window, pulled up the screen and screamed, in her waking-the-dead voice, “EAT ME OUT, MOTHERFUCKERS! YOU AIN’T SHIT! EAT ME OUT EAT ME OUT EAT ME OUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTT!”
we all laughed. then one of us said, “oh shit, they’re coming towards the house!” we all panicked and ran out the side door, up the hill in d.’s backyard. no shoes, no jackets. d.’s backyard was a hill at about a 50 degree angle, straight up and totally icy. we ran up, half scared, half giggly. i looked down at e., climbing underneath me. she had a kitchen knife between her teeth, blade side pointed away from her tongue. she had a truly crazed look in her eye. i had a moment that i’ve had a lot of times since, where i look around and think, “this is so fucking crazy, and this is so where i need to be.” barefoot on the ice? why the fuck not? e. was so quiet in school, the only conventionally attractive one in our whole social circle. everyone thought she was so normal. but she had a knife between her teeth, and she took it out once we reached the bushes at the top to hiss, “if they come up here, i’ll stab them! i’ll stab them!” i have never loved her more.
that was the first time i fell in love with tough girls, the first time i made a vow to always have my life be crazy, the first time i looked at danger and got exhilarated. before them–just two years ago–i’d been resigned to a life of reading books in my old beatup chair. nobody touched me & nobody heard me. i would talk and people would just look in shock. i didn’t know how to be loud. people said my name like a punishment. who would have thought in just two years i’d have a new name, i’d be standing on a hill with knives & we’d talk about stabbing boys. we’d do it for each other, if that’s what it came down to, because that’s what we meant to each other. two years ago i would have cringed at “eat me out” and “motherfucker” but now my mouth was filthy, now it was curved to fit the shape of those words.
the boys knocked on the locked door & eventually went away. we went back inside and prank-called people and laughed until we couldn’t breathe, until we all thought we were literally going to die. & that was just the beginning, just the beginning.
my life isn’t really all that crazy or dangerous anymore, and i don’t really want it to be. but sometimes i miss that self, wire-rim glasses and all. i have a waking-the-dead voice of my own; that girl who screamed has a baby & lives on the other side of the country & hates me so much she won’t speak my name. that’s fine, i guess. she helped me enough.