Monday, October 29, 2012


            Not anywhere near the Prom Queen or Princess or a runner up. There were no house parties I’d  heard of nor went to. I didn’t have a car. I never wore makeup until junior year. My first boyfriend came about in freshman year of college. I hated trendy brands like Hollister or Abercrombe & Fitch. I never heard any rumors or spread any because I’d simply been bored.
            What I was really was:
            With plenty of friends. Christy, Sharon, Liza, Alyssa, Mary, Emily, Claire, Sarah, and Billy. I’d met Jenny and Katie and Cassandra and Cat and Valerie somewhere in those four years.
            I failed the women’s tennis tryouts that summer in ’06, my sophomore year.
            Had a decent sense of scarves, big shoulder bags, and bohemian prints in nearly every blouse. If not floral there were stripes. H&M just opened in the Bay Area. I wore jeans again, as long as they were skinnies. Girls admired me for wearing high heels since middle school, always figuring it was me making the synchronized patter down those halls. Junior year was when I appeared in the yearbook for the best-dressed feature. When my dad had gone to Clayton Valley, he was in the same feature too—in 1980.
            I got my braces going into freshman year. They were removed my junior year at the University of San Francisco.
            I stayed at home on weekends.
            I sat against my locker in C Hall sometimes to read a book during lunchtime.
            I was an editor on the yearbook staff, for the clubs and organizations. After getting rosters of each club from the presidents for group pictures, I remembered so many faces that I was able to say “hey” to during breaks and lunch. They knew me. I was also the treasurer and secretary for the senior class, though I hated finances. The mom in charge of executing Senior Ball breathed down my neck about spreadsheets and what hors d’oeurves would be served that whole evening. In spite of pressure I led some student council meetings and had answers to most spirit day and fundraising questions peers had. On spirit days I wore my best colors or costume coinciding with the day’s theme. It was inspiring, not damning.
            Had to get up every rally day at five in the morning and arrive to set up the gym with balloons and signs and tarp on the wooden floors by six. During the Battle of the Sexes rally I drank three Rock Stars out of the surplus that student council had bought the year before for no solid reason. By noon I was awake, but shaking uncontrollably. To that point I had never needed to pee so badly in my life.
            There was Senior Ditch Day in April and I ditched on Tuesday when almost everyone did it on Thursday. I slept in. The more outgoing girls drove down to Capitola and judging from Facebook pictures the weather by the beach was very clear and warm.
            I got a Facebook after I graduated from Clayton Valley High.
            I was Asian. And yes an Honor Student. I was always asked if I’d join people’s group for class projects in English or History. Never heard rumors about me outside the classroom.
            I remember I’d gotten a D three different times for my progress report in math.
            I was in French Club. I started their rival the British Club. I started the environmental-awareness club Green People. It felt revolutionary. We raised money for a porpoise with the Marin Marine Mammal Center. I forgot how we did it. I made it into Senior Women because of all the clubs I’d joined, the first round pick of junior girls who would be the leaders in the fall and add more senior women. Only Alyssa and I made this round out of all our friends.
            In being part of Senior Women I tried out and made the cut for being one of the three Master of Ceremonies at the annual spring charity fashion show. I also joined with Emily in coordinating the collection from the store Buckle.
            I wasn’t attracted to any boys. The one I did like I invited to Jessica’s Sweet 16 dance party. He said yes but he never showed up. He became one of my closest friends in senior year.
            It didn’t bother me that I never had a date for Junior Prom or Senior Ball.
            Daddy always dropped me off and picked me and Milan up. Then Milan started driving us. After she graduated, Christy would give me a ride home. Sometimes we made a Jamba Juice stop or get coffee Frappuccinos at Starbucks. She’ll still come and pick me when we’re craving those things.
            I was voted by my class as Most Likely to Succeed. The same title I won in middle school.
            One Halloween night at Sarah’s house we went Trick-O-Treating but eagerly came back to her house to get sugared up and dance for two hours straight. I forgot the songs but I remember they were ones I hated.
            I was dancing because weeks before I remembered how I finally started dancing in public, at the Homecoming dance. It was exalting and fantastic but not as memorable as avoiding that one boy who wanted so badly to dance with me. Everyone I knew was on board to shroud me away and safely enjoy the last few hours. But my red dress was a traitor—he found me minutes before the last song but thankfully it was the last song that was fast-pasted for anything serious.
            Milan took me shopping one afternoon the day after my birthday. I wore a basic sweater and jeans; she got mad at me for half-assing myself. She was a bit dressed up, wearing heels and a cute coat to the mall. I was teary that I couldn’t just be casual, but reluctantly changed to a new blue blouse and the brown faux suede boots she’d sent from San Francisco. At the mall I got a cream duffel coat from Papaya that was too thick and warm to wear but I put on anyways. When I got home it was warm inside the house but that wasn’t what thrilled me. I saw familiar faces of Christy and Katie and Cat and Alyssa and Claire and every other face from five days a week and there they were lined along the railing overlooking the living room and cheering with hands running wild and balloons tied to the banister. I thought I was still casually dressed in that moment, but I looked down for a second and saw my brown boots.
            I spent the last day in high school at a live gig for friends in a band. They were pretty cute. The singer was cute to me and I was really anxious about asking him to sushi that night for another evening later in the summer. I never spoke to the more outgoing girls that were there but they smiled at me. With some of my friends, I was in the front row, and the girls weren’t too nice when they saw where we stood. I wore a black top with slits down the sleeves of the shoulders and arms and my hair was hair sprayed and puffed to rock star perfection. Some regulars noticed and said nice things to me. I only wanted to hear nice things from the singer. I did, when he agreed to dinner for two. The evening got colder and I grew flushed in the face with heat and disbelief.
            I was sick for next four days with fever. He went out of town on family vacation. The dinner never happened.
            I was really those things.
            And I didn’t know any of our vice principals personally because I never got in trouble. Didn’t sign up for all the AP courses and their following tests. Didn’t make it into UC Berkeley. I’m the only person in the family without glasses. No clue on what my shadow project really concluded in the science fair. Never got into a physical fight. Never ditched classes up until senior year. I seldom hung out with my teachers in their classrooms for lunch. I still don’t know how to play any instruments nor do I go to a college with a prominent marching band. I wasn’t alone. I made it past my teen years without bearing any children. I didn’t know any rumors nor spread any because I wasn’t jealous of anyone.

image courtesy of DSquared2

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