I identified with the fact that it couldn’t feel good to be the ones left behind

“On the subway platform, Miss S. and I waited patiently for our ride home. Four American high school girls came and stood near us. They were impossibly homely, with tacky, ill-fitting outfits, misguided applications of blue eyeshadow, and an abuse of hair accessories the likes of which I haven’t seen since the last time I went shopping with my mom at Woodfield Mall, in the suburbs of Chicago. They were loud and whiny. Had they had a wad of gum in their mouths, they would have been chewing it in an ungraceful, cowlike fashion… Immediately I knew the one on the far left was the best one, because she had the best smile and was the most likely to form complete sentences. (As soon as we got off the train, Miss S. said the exact same thing. She was the smartest, for sure.) She had round wire frame glasses, and long brown hair, bangs lightly teased, and she wore a tight purple turtleneck sweater that had strands of glitter woven into what I presumed to be acrylic material. When I told her I was from New York, she perked up at the sound of it. You will be the one to make it out alive, I thought to myself. The rest of you will be pregnant in the next five years.”

Posted July 2, 2001

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