Daisies

In the morning, Little Sister Yovanoff dawdles on the porch. Which isn’t surprising. Any time we’re supposed to be in a hurry (to catch the bus, for instance), she’s always a few steps behind.

When I turn to check her progress, she’s still poking around by the front door.

“Come back,” she says. “There’s a thing for you.”

The thing is a plastic freezer bag of Hershey’s Kisses with a note inside asking me to the Homecoming dance. The note is anonymous, and also written in Dill’s handwriting, with his red rollerball pen.

“Did you leave a ziplock bag of candy on my porch?” I say, catching him at his locker.

His eyes widen in surprise, but the truth is, he’s easy to read. “Someone left a bag of candy? Maybe there’s something inside.”

When we get home, Little Sister Yovanoff (ever the pragmatist) gets out a mixing bowl and plunks herself down on the living room floor. We sit across from each other and unwrap the candy piece by piece. We find Dill’s name in the second-to-last one. There are 87.

At his locker the next morning, I say, “Okay, I’ll go to Homecoming with you.”

I don’t say it this way because I’m mean or ungracious. At least, I am never ungracious on purpose. It’s just that I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided that this is what I’m going to do.

Dill says, “That’s not how it’s supposed to go. You’re supposed to tell me yes.”

“I did tell you yes. Just now.”

“No,” he says, looking mildly aggrieved. “Like with—like I did, with a note. Or . . . balloons or something.”

I think about this. Then, I take a deep breath and say, without any irony or ill will, “That seems kind of complicated.”

Ever since I told him I would go to the homecoming dance, Dill has been bringing me flowers in the morning. A single cheerful daisy—simple, sweet. We are sort of (sort of) dating again.

The first time he brought me a daisy, I thanked him for it. I put it on my locker shelf and forgot. At lunch, Little Sister Yovanoff accidentally set her Spanish book on it.

“Oops,” she said. “Were you saving that for something?”

Later, when I showed up to History without my flower, Dill wanted to know where it had gone. I tried to explain that I couldn’t just carry it around with me all day.

He said, “It was for you to appreciate. You can’t appreciate it if you leave it in your locker.”

So I carried the second daisy with me, even though it got gross-looking and started to wilt. It made my fingers sticky, and left a weird metallic smell, like you get if you hold a handful of pennies. When I showed up to Tully’s class with it, Dill grinned.

“You have my flower!” he said. “That’s so cool.”

“Classy,” muttered Rooster, who still has stitch-marks on his forehead. “Giving your girlfriend dead flowers.”

Across from me, #4 sort of laughed and sort of didn’t. He was looking past me and then he put his head down on his arms. I set the flower on the edge of my desk and tried to forget that my hands smelled filthy and like metal.

I wrapped the third daisy in a paper towel and ran it under the faucet in the bathroom. I came into History with a wilted daisy and a handful of soggy paper. No one said anything.

It’s not that I want things. I don’t care about romance or dating or being given things. Daisies are Dill’s favorite flower. I like primroses and violets. When he brings me something that he likes and I don’t, it’s confusing.

We don’t have to like the same flowers or the same music or movies or gum or anything else. But it would be nice if he recognized that the things I like are different from what he likes. I just want someone who pays attention, who takes into account what other people are thinking and doing.

This whole business of daisies is unsettling. It’s like a really clunky metaphor for the business of relationships, and last year I was naive enough to think that maybe I could demystify romance if I just studied the equation long enough. Now, I’m forced to admit that I absolutely do not understand. Anything.

Case in point: Rooster is dating Valentine. Or going steady. Or whatever you want to call it. They hold hands in the halls sometimes, but as far as I can tell, he never brings her daisies.

The way this came about is mysterious and also not. When Rooster was absent post-windshield, Tully asked if #4 would be kind enough to take him the homework, and #4 looked awkward and mumbled down at his desk that maybe it should be someone else, although I couldn’t really figure out why. At first I thought he must still be thinking about the blood, but then I decided that maybe he just meant someone less stoned or more responsible. Or with a car.

So Mr. Tully asked for a volunteer, and without any hesitation, Valentine raised her hand. She said, “I’ll do it,” and all her friends whispered and giggled, and I was shocked at how easy she made it look. All I could think was, But now everyone will know she likes him.

Which, as an attitude, is pretty dysfunctional.

Because I told Dill yes, my mom takes me dress-shopping, which proves to be one of the more painful experiences of junior year. Not because of her or me—we’re generally on the same team—but because of the dresses. Eventually we find one that fits, but the whole endeavor is exhausting. The dress itself is . . . unstylish. It’s the exact opposite of every long, straight satin sheath in peach or periwinkle. Also, I have no fancy shoes, and no patience for fancy shoes. At least I’m growing out my bangs. Which gives me a sense of accomplishment. On all other fronts, I feel like an idiot.*

Junior homecoming 1

The dance is in the cafeteria, which the Homecoming Committee has festooned in crepe paper for the occasion. All the girls from the soccer team are there. They squeal and hug me around the neck and I smile. I compliment their outfits, but I don’t really know how to act like other girls do. When they hug me, I never know what to do with my arms.

Valentine is there with Rooster, which I have to admit, I didn’t really expect. They don’t seem like the kind of people who go to dances. But then, neither do I.

Even more surprising, though, is the fact that #4 is with them, dateless and trailing along behind. He’s wearing jeans and a button-down shirt—maroon or forest green, but it’s hard to tell which in the dark. I think I catch him looking over his shoulder at me, but I’m not sure, because as soon as it seems like he might be, I immediately stare down at my shoes.

Most of the boys look kind of awkward, dressed in slacks and rumpled button-downs or their fathers’ too-big jackets. In contrast, Dill is wearing a dark, double-breasted mobster suit that looks amazing and also fits him. It is totally unprecedented. I keep thinking how, if this were last year, we would pretend to be an organized-crime couple—a gangster king and queen presiding over an imaginary empire built on heroin and intimidation. But because it’s not last year . . . we don’t.

Instead, he leads me around by the hand and makes polite conversation, when we never used to waste time on smalltalk. The whole evening feels contrived, like it’s happening to someone else.

When a slow song comes on, Dill steers me into the middle of the floor and I’m startled to discover that he’s shaking a little.

“You should wear a red dress next time,” he says, close to my ear.

“Why?”

“That way, when they play ‘Lady in Red,’ I’ll be dancing with you and it’ll just be cool.”

I can’t think of anything to say. “Lady in Red” is one of the stupidest songs I know of.

Rooster and Valentine have disappeared somewhere, and #4 is sitting alone on a wooden bench with the speakers and the soundboard behind him. Every time we turn, I look past Dill’s shoulder toward the bench. #4 is leaning forward, staring down at his hands. He looks the way I feel, bored and patient. He looks like he’s someplace else.

The weight of my cheek against Dill’s shoulder is comforting in a way that evokes something wistful. Longing, maybe, or regret. He smells like Old Spice and vanilla car-freshener and suddenly, I don’t want to play School Dance anymore. I want to step back, take myself out of it. I want to be sitting on the bench, watching all the couples, and not have to smile or make conversation or hug anyone. #4 would probably even slide over, make room. We wouldn’t have to talk. We could just sit there, being quiet.

What I want more than anything is to not have to be bright or meaningless or explain myself, and I don’t know why, but in this moment #4 looks like he would just get it. Without words, without me ever having to put in the effort to make him see.

I know that unspoken communication is a totally unreasonable expectation and still, in this moment it’s what I want. Also, I want “Lady in Red” to be an actual solid thing. So I can set it on fire.

All this really means is, I want to be understood. I want to play mobsters and skip the chitchat, and not be given daisies when I don’t like them. I want all these things, but I don’t want to ask for them because I have this messed-up idea that if you have to ask for something, then when you get it, it won’t be real.

We keep turning, #4 washing into view again and again. He’s looking up now. I can only see his eyes when the mirror-ball sends an occasional splash of light across his face, but it’s enough. We’re looking right at each other and for one strange, unsettling moment, it doesn’t even feel that awkward.

Then Dill pulls me closer, bending his head to mine. “I’m glad you came with me,” he says. He whispers it into my ear. “Sorry for being such a jerk last year.”

His voice drags me back from the sparkly little world inside my head—from whatever far, imaginary place I’m living in.

“Thank you for inviting me,” I say automatically, like a windup girl.

I lean against him and close my eyes. I’m comforted to realize suddenly that this is okay too. Because I know this spicy-vanilla smell, this shoulder, and because on Monday, we can still go back to normal. I can chart the course of Us perfectly.

The song ends. The bench is empty.

“Is something wrong?” Dill asks.

“No,” I say, because I am a relentlessly factual girl.

I say no, because nothing is.

*****

Things I want to know: Do they still have homecoming dances? (I’m assuming they do, but you can never be sure.) More importantly, do the dances involve a festival of crepe paper and rented disco lights? Are dresses a big deal, or an afterthought? Do people take dates?

Also, what about you? Did you have to figure out romance or attraction or relationships, or did you always just know? (If you did, I’m jealous.)

*Looking at this picture from a comfortably-adult vantage point, I don’t think I look like an idiot—I actually think that 17-year-old me is kind of precious (in a tragic-bangs way), but at the time, my sense of idiocy was acute and pervasive.

40 thoughts on “Daisies

  1. I’ve no idea what they do (or did) at homecomings, because I was homeschooled. But, I do think dresses are still a big deal, and that you should probably bring a date. (Also, “Lady in Red” is now on loop in my head–I agree, I wish it were a physical thing so it could be burned)

  2. We had a semi-formal (where you didn’t have to be a senior) in February and a formal (where you did) in May. Those were our two big dances. But I haven’t heard of a Canadian high school that REALLY does homecoming in a while…

    I am profoundly literal. So no: I have no idea about attraction or romance.

  3. 1) Knowing how you choose to dress now, nothing you say will ever convince me that you didn’t know exactly what you were doing when you went to Homecoming dressed that way. LOL.

    2) When I worked at the RenFest as a hooker, (fake hooker, people. Fake hooker.) people used to send roses to me (and the others) during the day. I would slowly pull the petals off mine until I was walking around with only the stem and sepals. It was awesome. And kind f mean.

    3) They still have Homecoming at my high school. When I went, one and only time, my sophomore year, I dressed like Anne Rice. Droopy, bland makeup and everything.

  4. I was going to go to Homecoming with my then boyfriend Junior year, but I caught chicken pox from his 3 year old brother. I looked and felt terrible. He brought me roses and stayed in and watched movies with me. I still think of him as a real nice guy.

  5. Even for a dress with an applique, swirly front, you totally rocked it and I think you knew that then too. (I sense a hint of satisfaction in the look on your face in the photo, yes?)

    And you were right about #4: he’s continuing to break my heart into sad, sappy little bits.

  6. When I went to high school, we had homecoming dances. I haven’t gone to any of the dances but my friends have and my sister went to every high school dance with her boyfriend (now husband) so what I gather is that in Utah, the dresses and tuxes are a pretty big deal. A lot of the girls are really excited and so are most of the guys. We also do the complicated question and answer thing. Though my sister said that because she was with her boyfriend through all of high school, it was just kind of assumed by both of them that they would go to the dance together so they didn’t really formally ask on some of them.

    A lot of my friends ask me for advice on romantic matters, though I don’t know why since I haven’t had any romantic experience. I don’t think I have romance figured out at all.

  7. Okay, I thought we were in school around the same time, but now it’s total fact because my homecoming dress sophomore year was the knock off version of your dress. Only a ghastly mix of black velvet and black brocade. And instead of rocking the boots, I wore…. (my mom took me shopping… are you ready for this? This is appalling…) matching black velvet PUMPS.

    You were very sweet to Dill through all that!! I was boy-crazy like nobody’s business, but when it came to actual boys and dates to dances I was a “don’t even think about doing something cheesy and high maintenance when it comes to asking me, and I have a strict hands-off-except-for-slow-dances policy.”

    I think if I had ever gone to a dance with a boy I genuinely liked, it would have been different, but when the feelings weren’t there (and when it came to boys, I was very sure about who I liked and who I “like-liked”)… well, going stag with my girlfriends was always my favorite way to attend school dances.

    LOVE your boots with that dress. I didn’t have the guts to dress the way I wanted to for Homecoming until senior year when I went in costume as Madonna a la Desperately Seeking Susan – so fun. Even though my friends didn’t dress up so I looked… a little odd. :)

  8. Let me first say that I LOVE your homecoming outfit. So very dramatic and punk at the same time. I always loved buying dresses for dances. However, my mother disapproved of me wearing my black boots with anything… but I did it anyway.

    The first Homecoming Dance I went to was my sophomore year, and the second was the fall *after* I graduated. First dress was green. (It looked awesome with my orange hair and half sunburned face.) Second dress was a red patterned thing that I loved. (I actually miss that dress.)

    All the dances at my high school were held in the cafeteria, except for Prom (which is usually at the State Capitol Building.) There were a LOT of dances: Homecoming (semi-formal), Halloween (costumed), Christmas (semi-formal), Sadie Hawkins (casual), Prom (formal), and Senior Cotillion (come as whatever). I actually think I’m missing one, but I can’t think of it.

    Anyway – I loved going to the dances, but mostly for the fact that I got a new dress out of it. After my first dance and my not so flashy dress I started buying shorter and usually shimmery dresses for all the other dances. I remember going to the Prom my senior year wearing a purple number that had a velvet empire waist top and a shimmery/silky long skirt finished off with long white gloves. My date wore top hat and tales, complete with white gloves and a cane. We were awesome. My husband was there with his then girlfriend who was wearing a floral print dress that you’d probably wear to church on Sunday’s…. We weren’t even close to the dating stage back then, but my husband came right up to me and told me how absolutely beautiful I looked that night and how great I looked in purple, complementing me profusely … turns out he didn’t flatter his own date so much that night. (Funny thing – after that dance his girlfriend insisted on wearing a purple dress to every dance he took her to after that to try and get him to notice her – Jealous much?)

    Did I have to figure out romance or attraction or relationships, or did you always just know?

    I think I always just knew. I spent my three years of high school pining after a boy that hardly acknowledged me unless he needed something. I longed to have a relationship – I knew what attraction was, I had that in spades.

  9. I went to an arts school (like in Fame, only with visual art as well), so we didn’t have Homecoming, we had Winter Ball. One year there was a Winter Ball Court, to make it more like Homecoming, and some freshman girls got really into it and posted all kinds of fliers asking people to vote for them. In order to express his feelings about this, a friend of mine made a bunch of fliers that said “Josef Stalin for Freshman Princess” (I think they even had pictures of Stalin in a tiara…) and put them up. It was kind of awesome.

    School dances were always an exercise in disappointment, because I wanted to have a date and have the perfect John Hughes movie experience, but no one ever asked me, and they never played slow songs, and usually about an hour in I remembered that I was an introvert and all I wanted to do was go home and get in my pajamas and read a book. I would have been wanting to sit on a bench and watch too…also, I totally think those boots look awesome with the dress. But I’m 26 and I didn’t own a pair of heels until a year ago, so what do I know…:)

  10. This reminds me of the story you wrote for Merry Fates about the girl who could make things happen by writing them down, and it took place at a Homecoming/Prom dance and she cast a spell on the wrong boy, but who had the same name as her crush.

    You didn’t look like an idiot. In that picture, you definitely have the ironic, quirky-girl thing going on in a good way.

    #4 is so intriguing. I want to know more about him.

    -Taure

  11. Oh, it got stuck in my head as I was writing this, and even now, it keeps coming back.

    I was homeschooled until high school, so all the social conventions (like dances) seemed like this amazing phenomenon that had to be studied and recorded for posterity. And then I realized that most of the things I found exotic were actually very commonplace. It was kind of disappointing, like finding out how a magic trick works.

  12. I am profoundly literal. So no: I have no idea about attraction or romance.

    I present to you a brief conversation with my husband, which took place last week:

    D: You’re being very literal. Why are you always so literal?

    Brenna: I’m not being literal! I’m being precise.

    (I was totally being literal. It just happened to coincide with precise.)

  13. nothing you say will ever convince me that you didn’t know exactly what you were doing
    Ah, you’re onto me. At time of purchase, I actually felt very good about the dress and the fact that it resembled none of the dresses around it. My stupid-feeling only happened later, when I realized I was going to be standing awkwardly in a big room, resembling none of the dresses around me. Panic set it. Because it’s me, panic looked exactly like interest, irritation, delight, and hunger.
    Also, I so wish I’d seen you dressed like Anne Rice—you have no idea.

  14. I was just explaining to Tess up above: I was happy with the dress pretty much right up until the point when I realized I had to actually wear it. Upon which, I immediately felt very out of my depth and found the dress terrifying.
    However, my general philosophy back then was to never let anyone (especially my mother) see that I was bothered. Looking back, I really wasted a *lot* of energy pretending to be unshakable.
    (Also, for such a dispassionate girl, I have many sad, sappy stories ahead!)

  15. We also do the complicated question and answer thing.
    This was one of those things that I had no idea was even a Thing until it happened. And even then, I didn’t really understand it—it just seemed SO foreign.
    A lot of my friends ask me for advice on romantic matters, though I don’t know why since I haven’t had any romantic experience.
    That’s really the way I was too, and I kind of think it works out *because* we’re not involved. It’s always so much easier to be rational about something when you’re looking at it from a safe distance.

  16. matching black velvet PUMPS.
    That is DELIGHTFUL! (And is also the reason I’m wearing my boots in this picture—seriously, my mom took me to try on the pumps. I’ve had them on my feet. Then my sister made a terrible, terrible noise. Because she can always be counted on to look out for me.)
    I think if I had ever gone to a dance with a boy I genuinely liked, it would have been different
    That’s how I always felt too, but it look me quite awhile to *understand* that was what I felt, and also that like-like was an actual thing. I’d always pretty much liked everything and everyone, and if you like everything…well, that’s great, but then nothing is special.

  17. Oh, man—I can’t believe you remembered that one! I have to say, I think I probably was channeling some of this dance experience when I wrote that story. At this point in my life though, I took up a lot more space than Harper. However, I still had that off-kilter outsider’s way of looking at everyone—I was *much* more comfortable standing against the wall.

    (And OH, was I ironic! I could have done it professionally.)

    (I can assure you that at 17, I found #4 *quite* intriguing. Which is not the same as being able to tell you a single true thing about him.)

  18. “Josef Stalin for Freshman Princess”
    I can’t even articulate how much this would have appealed to me in high school—I would have laughed and laughed!
    I wanted to have a date and have the perfect John Hughes movie experience
    I think this is what I wanted, too. I think a *lot* of kids did, actually, but the John Hughes experience was so contrary—it kept refusing to happen!
    These days, I kind of love heels. But only because they are like playing dress-up, and not because you can accomplish anything at all while wearing them.

  19. However, my mother disapproved of me wearing my black boots with anything… but I did it anyway
    Those boots and I got to be quite good friends :) For soccer, we had to dress up every time we had a home-game, which was at least once a week. Until the boots, I’d actually been wearing my turf shoes for dress-up days because they were black and I thought they looked fancier than my Converse. (I may have been slightly deluded.)
    Wow, your school had A LOT of dances! Ours had I think four (?) a year, but I didn’t go to all of them. My favorite was senior prom, because it was a double-date with my sister and like you, we got to wear gloves, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.
    By the middle of my junior year, I think, I was beginning to recognize the mechanics of pining, but I had no idea how to relate. It was like this fundamental impossibility—if it required me actually taking any sort of initiative, or even just being approachable, then it wasn’t happening.

  20. Well, then, your smug but faked look of “I know I’m rocking this” would have fooled both your mother *and* me. :)

    Looking forward to all the forthcoming sad and sappy you have to offer!

  21. From what you’ve said about high school Brenna in these posts, I would have guessed that the Stalin thing would have appealed to her. :)
    Also, I think that John Hughes is to blame for our generation’s unrealistic expectations about high school…by our senior year, by best friend and I decided to give up on Winter Ball and go to see the new Star Trek movie instead. It was much more fun.
    Didn’t realize I wasn’t signed in when I left the original comment…oops!

  22. Our homecoming dances were usually in the cafeteria, don’t remember any decorations, and most people dressed casual cause sometimes the dance was right after the football game(the fancy stuff came out at the other dance: Winter Ball, Tolo, Prom). Also the tone seemed quite casual too, but then I think I only went to 2 out 4 homecoming dances. Btw I kinda love your dress :)

    Ha I don’t and never did have the first clue about relationships, esp in high school. Mostly I only ever observed other people’s romances or wrote stories that consequently were full of cliches from the many romance novels I read during high school. These days, having gone through college, I have a more balanced view of relationships but yet to experience much of one for myself.

  23. I just remembered that at my SECOND high school, the all girls Catholic one, we did have prom and homecoming – but the only dance I ever had fun at was the Father-Daughter Dinner-Dance. I shit you not. I went both years, and so did all of my friends. Maybe bc there was no boy pressure, since you just dragged your dad.
    Junior year it was formal, and I wore this green velvet thing and talked my dad into wearing his dress uniform! Senior year it was “famous couples” and dad and I went as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. We sat with John and Yoko.
    I bring this up…. because I DO have pictures from these dances. Which I will dig out for you.

  24. Father-Daughter Dinner-Dance

    I . . . cannot even. That actually exists not-in-a-movie?

    Also, my dad is awesome and I still can’t imagine wanting to go anywhere school-related with him when I was 17. More importantly, I can’t imagine him agreeing to an organized activity. I couldn’t even get him to go to Senior Night, and parental participation was mandatory—I was pretty much the only one there without my parents (though it did teach me a lot about the concept of mandatory).

    Brenna: But you have to go. It says all the parents have to go. What if they want you to sign something?

    Brenna’s Dad: You’re 18. Just tell them anything I can sign, you can sign.

  25. Mostly I only ever observed other people’s romances or wrote stories that consequently were full of cliches

    :D You and me both! I didn’t even read romance novels and *still* managed to hammer in all the romance-novel elements.

    We had a dance called Boosters, which would probably correspond to Winter Ball. I have to admit though, I have no idea what Tolo is.

    The dress was one of those things where, in theory, I actually liked it. However, I did not like big productions, things beyond my comfort-zone, or . . . wearing dresses. All these things really worked against it.

  26. They do still do homecoming dances; I don’t remember crepe but there were a lot of strobe lights at the ones I went to (very few…). I don’t remember much decoration, just a lot of top 40 club hits and maybe some cake or something. Dresses were a big deal, but they were usually on the inappropriate end rather than the prom-like end. People didn’t really take dates iirc, but if they were already a couple they would go together.

    I don’t even know anything about romance/attraction/relationships NOW, frankly. It’s a long and boring story why, but basically it’s because I was a teenager who was frightened of everything.

  27. They still have homecoming dances, but I can’t testify to other details, because I never went to one. Dates definitely were not a big deal, and dresses only sort of one. If there are people who just know, I would like to politely punch them in the face a little. Although, my personal tendency is to completely know things and then just lie to myself about them.

  28. Haha, so awesome about the father/daughter dances being fun. I went to the father/daughter dances at my school every year with my grampa. And man, when Rumpshaker by Wreckx’n Effect would play and my serious, reserved grampa would try so hard to dance to it… I swear, not much in life is as hilariously awesome as that. :D

  29. I think I read way too many teen romances. I just want you (the you character in my head, because I know you are happily married) and #4 to fall in love. For him to get clean and for you to rent a tiny apartment in some eclectic city where you can get really good Chinese food.

    I went to two homecoming dances. Both times I went with a group of friends. They are two of the best nights of my life. I had so much fun, that I cant think about it without smiling and wanting to cry because I’m never going to be in that place and time again and I miss seeing them all the time.

    • Well, I will admit to practicing my teen-romance narrative techniques on you guys ;) Maybe? Just a little?

      However, on a more serious note I do think that real-life high school crushes are nice (and important) because they let you practice having feelings, but without any real pressure—you don’t actually have to deal with those feelings in a grown-up way unless you feel ready.

      (Which, wow, I was not.)

  30. Do they still have homecoming dances? (I’m assuming they do, but you can never be sure.) More importantly, do the dances involve a festival of crepe paper and rented disco lights? Are dresses a big deal, or an afterthought? Do people take dates?

    Also, what about you? Did you have to figure out romance or attraction or relationships, or did you always just know? (If you did, I’m jealous.)

    Oh yes. Homecoming still exists. It’s mostly just a big deal for the freshmen, though. Having never been to Homecoming (it’s in our pathetically tiny cafeteria, and I’ve seen pictures — it’s people thisclose to everyone else, and ctlhoisse (this close smooshed together) to your date.)

    My friends and I are mostly the non-dating sort, although of my school friends, no one goes to HC, period. Whereas with my friends from before high school, who all go to my school’s rival school, they all go in a massive group, or with someone as friends, in order to get the cheaper ticket.

    There’s some magical switch that must flip in junior year that makes people capable of speaking maturely about relationships instead of giggling about them behind cupped hands on the playground. Seriously, in the past five weeks (since school started) I’ve had about nine, ten, conversations (six of them very in-depth and long) about relationships. That’s equal to the number I’ve had up to this point.

    One of my friends said to me last night, “I feel like now instead of going through, like, seven people to tell someoone you ‘like like’ them, you can just be real with people.”

    Junior year is the beginning of the real world, I think, and it’s scary.

    • There’s some magical switch that must flip in junior year that makes people capable of speaking maturely about relationships instead of giggling about them behind cupped hands on the playground.

      I tend to agree with this. It was definitely the year I started thinking about relationships in a more complex way, not to mention being able to have conversations about them. (Make no mistake, I was still hopeless at them. But at least I was thinking, rather than avoiding the subject altogether.)

      Junior year is the beginning of the real world, I think, and it’s scary.

      Yes. And I just want to say that Junior year was one of my absolute favorite years. Of good years in my life, I mean.* Because it *was* scary, and *did* feel like the real world, but at the same time I wasn’t 18 yet and hadn’t had to research colleges or file my taxes or apply for anything. Junior year is like this bridge where you’re kind of a kid and kind of an adult at the same time. (And I just now this second realized that my entire concept of adulthood apparently has to do with paperwork, so . . .)

      *I’ve had lots, so don’t go getting worried about what happens to people after high school, or thinking that I’ve had some slew of really tragic years—I haven’t, I just really happened to like my Junior year.

      • I was still hopeless at them. But at least I was thinking, rather than avoiding the subject altogether.
        Oh yes. That is where I am too. It’s FASCINATING to me now, instead of totally foreign. Well, it’s still totally foriegn, but now I see the draw. If that makes sense.

        Oh, I know what you mean. It’s the best of both worlds but also the worst, because I’m now realizing how much I don’t know.

        My concept of adulthood revolves entirely around taxes. Yup.

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