Saturday, February 11, 2006 · posted at 9:52 PM
"And come to think of it your eyes are different. Hers weren't as dark as yours. Your hair's darker, too, of course. Actually you don't really look like her at all."
"Wow," I said, having long ago perfect the art of saying things in a tone that could be interpreted as genuine.

Now, after all of this, Mr. Jolly wanted to talk. I considered telling my mother about him, having a laugh, but decided against it. Sometimes I kept important things from her so that later, when she discovered them, she'd be struck down by the feeling that she didn't really know the first thing about us, her very own children.

Sometimes it seemed to me that our television was more of a person than an appliance. It was the best member of our family, the older sibling I'd always wanted - the bright one, the pretty one, the one who kept up with current events, the one who told all the jokes. We were happier when the television was there. When it wasn't - when we were in the car, at school, at Friendly's - things weren't the same between us. We fought. We drifted off into our own dull thoughts. We felt the smallenss of our lives.

"These bracelets are real conversation starters!" she said. "You wouldn't believe how many people stop and ask me about mine. Every day someone asks!" I had seen this with my own eyes. My mother had developed a speech that explained the entired history of her life and she loved to give it, fingering each charm like a spokesmodel. She didn't seem to see the bracelet in the same way that I did, as a chain of abandoned dreams cobbled in miniature.

It didn't take Teddy long to figure out that he could expand his repertoire, as our high school was a wasteland of embarassing afflictions.

The gas station was a small birck building with its windows boarded up. Vandals had made their mark on the boards with spray paint. I WUZ HERE, someone had written. And, on another board: FUCK YOU. It seemed to me they had covered everything, written a history of the world in two sentences. This was pretty much all there was to say.

      - Christie Hodgen, Hello, I Must Be Going

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