Little Miss Sunshine

May 8, 2008
By Lisa Wang, West Roxbury, MA

“Don’t poke me.” I swat away at the offending hand.
“I needed to get your attention!”
“Why can’t you call out my name or tap me on the shoulder, like a NORMAL person?!”
“Where’s the fun in that?”
“Ow! You hit me!”
“No. I punched you.”
“You punched me.”
“I punched you.”
“Hey, Smith needs that report by-“
“Marie! She hit me!”
“Is this when I break out into song?”
“Ooh, yes! I’ll join you! It’ll be like a duet! Ready? I’ll start!”
“If you start singing, I’ll hit you again.”
“Aw, you wouldn’t hurt your best friend in the whole wide world!”
“Okay, I’ll hit you anyway.”

For perhaps the tenth time today, two figures are seen in a maniac sort of chase, knocking about paperwork, and plants all about the southwest wing of the hospital. This happens fairly frequently, and no one bothers to look up.

Unfortunately, one of those figures, is mine.

We met in high school sometime between 9th and 10th grade. We had a few classes together. I didn’t ask for her friendship. But somehow, it was forced upon me. After two months, she officially dubbed me, her “best friend.”

“I have a question!”
“If the vector v is equal to this number, how would we find u+v?”
“I don’t know, how do we find u+v?”
“Help me!”
“You’re such an idiot. Can’t you bother someone else?”
“You’re the only one I bother. Everyone else loves me. Why can’t you love me like everyone else?!”
“Because I’m sane.”
“You’re such a little kid! ‘Hurry up, the bus is coming! Hey hey hey hey! Class is the other way! You walk too slow, grandma!’ ARGH! Freak!”
“But you put up with it…” She smiles shrewdly. “Because you’re my best friend!”

Needless to say, I was mortified.

It’s been ten years and very little has changed. College was high school with more people to stare at us when I threw plants and whatever I could get my hands on at her. We find ourselves in a daily retinue of sorts. I would hide in my office, doing something lawyer-seeming and try my personal best to avoid her at all costs. She would take her lunch break and inevitably- find me. She would pester me, good-naturedly, into a conversation and I’d respond in as few sentences as possible. (Idiocy is still highly contagious, you know.)

It’s been ten years and very little has changed.

“Hey, last night, I was rearranging my books when-“
“Books? Plural? I’m ashamed to know you, nerd.”
“To know me? I’m ashamed to know you! Miss super nerd who does all the problems in math books, twice, because she’s twice as nerdy as a regular super nerd; so that means she’s like super nerd extreme-“

She smiles so readily. She smiles at everything, the pictures on her desk, the clouds in the sky; the people in her life. And I want to say we understand each other more, that we have grown to respect one another as capable individuals in society. But that would be lie. It’s been ten years and I’m no closer to understanding her than I’ve ever been.

“I wonder what would happen if this glass panel wasn’t here.”
“Then you’d fall on your face, idiot.”
“There you go with your name-calling. Why can’t you be nice to me?”
“Why can’t you stop asking stupid questions?”
“My questions are not stupid! They are deep. You’re stupid. And yet, still nerdy. That’s the worst kind of nerd!”

I glare at her and head to my office, mindlessly reviewing legal claim reports for the hearing tomorrow, before I could leave and put as much distance between me and that ridiculous human being as possible. I remember the little things about us when we were younger. High school didn’t seem so bad. She was crazy and caused a lot more headache than she was worth, but I’m so used to her now that a day off, a day without her

…feels so empty.

“Why do you care? If you can’t answer with a valid reason, then you don’t really care.”
“I care about you because we are friends. Best friends. People need friends.”
“And according to Dr. Seuss a person’s a person- no matter how small!”
“…I’m five inches shorter than you, jerk.”
“That means I’m a bigger person than you.” She smiles. “It’s okay to be jealous.”

She smiles readily enough. And in her smile is something vaguely sincere. She smiles at me, at the clouds, at the people in her life. Sincerely.

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