I used to send letters to celebrities. I asked them how they were doing, and if they were excited about any projects they had coming up. They would send back polite answers to the questions, usually plugging their most current project and giving me a signed photo. With all of the other photos on my wall, I’d tack the new ones up. Dad said it was because I was too fascinated with their lives and trying to be like them. Mom said she did the same thing when she was my age.
They told me there were plenty of people I knew that I could look up to, like my grandma. She was a pilot. Or my uncle, he made a lot of money off of some smart investments. I think they wanted to say themselves, but it would have cheapened me actually doing so.
Jane Brennan, a local radio host, sent back a letter that said, “Hannah, thanks for the letter! I do love my job and I’m glad you like listening! Don’t worry about not knowing what you want to do, I know you’ll do great things!”
When the new semester started I got all new classes. I sat next to Rebecca. She didn’t talk to me at first. One day I wore a Grateful Dead shirt to school. She told me she liked it and we should hangout. On Friday she was having people over, her parents said drinking was fine as long as she did it at home.
Rebecca was the girl everyone knew they could go for if they wanted to find a party. She was also the girl they could go for if they were looking for more than that. Rebecca colored a lot. She said she would let her mind go and not have to be self-aware. She said she did drugs so she could take a step back and look at all she had accomplished-everything in her life she could look back on. Her ex-best friend was Kaitlin. Rebecca stopped talking to her after Kaitlin told a joke about her at a party. Rebecca said that drugs make normal humor personal. Kaitlin disappeared into irrelevance after that.
Rebecca, the kind of girl you not only wanted to be, but the kind of girl you wanted to be completely different from since you could never actually be.
Never smell like. Never have her hair. Never be looked at the same way.
Rebecca was everything and nothing at the same time-a whisper, or a wind coming from underneath the door. She said she liked it when she flicks her cigarette and feels the dampness of the butt fold in. She said she liked it when she was coloring on the corners of the paper and the edges started to crinkle.
When she left, she didn’t make a show of it-she never did. And that’s why everyone wanted to watch.
Rebecca made me look in the mirror and she how others saw me-just Hannah: all of the potential and all of the faults.
None of the worries.
None of the disappointments.
None of the unreached expectations.
more by TYLER CLIFTON