Here is the beginning of the story I have been writing, since, let’s see now… the sixth grade. It has gone through so many revisions it is ridiculous.
There is no such thing as innocent. No one is pure or without fault, including and especially me. Noel, my best friend since five minutes ago, tries to deny this basic fact. I say since five minutes ago because this is when she proved her impurities for the first time.
You see, this was when I was accused of attempting to start a food fight. I hardly see how whipping an open carton of chocolate milk at Jake Osmond qualifies as starting a food fight. Particularly when he just accidentally-on-purpose dropped his mashed potatoes all over my new top. This is just how we show our affection for each other. He pulls my pigtail, I kick him in the shin. Classic boy meets girl, boy acts immature, girl delivers manicured hand of justice scenario.
With my luck, the cafeteria overseers only witness the second half of this ritual. They give me five minutes to march myself down to the office. In an unexpected burst of anti-regulation enthusiasm, Noel agreed to let me borrow a shirt. But not just any shirt. I’m talking about the dangerously pink, low-cut, revealing t-shirt. The one that says ‘Do Not Touch…Wet paint’, strategically placed to distract the reader. The exact kind Noel’s heavily Christian mother forbids her from even looking at. I’m surprised I don’t have a backup shirt of my own.
This is the sort of shirt I rely on to get out of detention. I look older than the pathetic freshmen I am. (I could’ve pulled this of in fifth grade.) I get along, er, well with our principal, Mr. Stone. I came out of the bathroom stall wearing the shirt. I look in the mirror, putting on a fresh coat of lip gloss. I strut over to Mr. Stone’s office and take a seat.
“Elizabeth Martin. What a pleasant surprise, despite the circumstances that brought you here. How is that boyfriend of yours?” At this question he raises an eyebrow, as if to hope we broke up.
Even if we did, he totally wouldn’t be next in line. It’s not that he is overly ugly. Or excessively old. He’s just weak. He’s an easily manipulated, little man. When he says we see eye to eye, it is literal. And his slight bald spot is completely adorable. But sometimes it reflects the dangerously low lighting in his office that blinds me.
“Jeff? Oh, he’s…adequate.” That’s right, make him think he stands a chance. He gets up and closes the door, so that the two of us can have a conversation alone. He sits on the edge of the desk. I’m sure it’s an excuse to have the tips of our shoes touch.
“Liz, you need to learn to control yourself,” he suggests. Right back at Mr. Stone. “Besides, anger can easily be channeled into more…constructive outlets.”