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On my eighteenth birthday my best friend Athena said I needed to enter adulthood with a bang. I being the “president of the No Fun Society” wanted nothing to do with her idea of this so called statement I needed to make. For all I knew (which I did not, Athena kept everything confidential and locked in a box in her closet) she could be planning a surprise party with obnoxious girls and fluffy poodles. What a nightmare. When my older brother Dean turned eighteen he spent it playing videogames which was exactly what I was planning to do until Athena stepped in asking if I really wanted to follow in his footsteps. My brother isn’t that bad of a guy, and I was considering saying yes until she pointed out he is girlfriendless and sleeps in one of those blue racecar beds for five year olds.
The morning after my birthday I woke up with Athena awkwardly sprawled across my bedroom floor and a bowl of spilled cheese curls being eaten by my dog. The TV was still on from the movie marathon we had last night and a can of coke was now dripping off my dresser onto the floor. But that was the least of my worries.
“Surprise?” Athena woke up and came over to me with her arms open like she was going to give me a hug. I backed up, stepping on the movie case to Mean Girls and heard it crack. I looked down at it at the girls on the cover who I now resemble. When Athena said she wanted to give me a makeover, I thought that meant nails and makeup, not the whole nine yards with hair dying and waxing in places that shouldn’t be waxed. My newly blonde hair was in loose ringlets that fell into my manicured eyebrows and flawlessly lined eyes. God, she cut it too.
“Since when do I have bangs?” as I spoke I was surprised that my voice wasn’t altered into some high pitch tone that would only be fit for a Barbie.
“Charlotte, calm down,” she bent over and picked up the movie case and a cheese curl. “You look amazing.” She popped it into her mouth and picked up another. As she ate the second one I remembered my dog was sniffing through them earlier this morning.
“Charlotte? And since when do you call me my by my full name?”
She shrugged, “It’s part of the transformation, it’s time you stop going by Charlie and start going by your real, sophisticated name.” she did a wave with her hand motioning that it was no big deal. I looked at a picture on my dresser of my mom and me from two years ago. It’s amazing how one night can change years of something.
“Okay, you are going to fix this now.” I stepped on every movie case as I made my way to my closet to showcase my anger. “Get dressed we’re going to get hair dye.” There was no way I was going to prance around with a platinum head of hair like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. I shuttered at the thought. I opened my closet in a huff expecting to see my array of jeans and tee shirts but instead saw elegant blouses hung on those fancy velvet hangers, and a variety of skirts and slacks neatly folded in a stack. “Where are all my clothes?” I was becoming desperate to find anything that reminded me of my old self.
“I bought you all new ones and kept them hidden. You don’t know how hard it was not to wear them.” So that’s what she was hiding in the box.
I closed my eyes and imagined my old brunette hair and comfy sweats. “Well you can have every single thing in here.” I started ripping shirts off hangers and throwing them at her and anywhere else behind me.
“No, Charlie stop!” I ignored her comment but did stop momentarily when I saw one of my sweat shirts balled up in the corner. I threw it on and grabbed my car keys from my night stand leaving Athena behind in my room. I passed my brothers room on my way down expecting him to still be sleeping. I barged in anyways and searched for a pair of sweat pants that I knew he had. After I pulled those on I walked into the living room trying to pull up my hair and hide it inside of the hood of my sweatshirt.
Dean was sitting on the couch watching channel seven news instead of the usual cartoons. He was also wearing a nice suit, with a tie and everything. “Where are you going?” I said.
He looked up at me; his hair was cut neatly and he shaved for the first time in months. Usually at this time of day, Dean was drinking soda from the bottle while laying around in his pajamas or worse, just his underwear. “Interview,”
I snorted and crossed my arms. “I think McDonalds would hire you even if you just wore jeans.”
He sighed, “It’s not for McDonalds Charlie, it’s at that new office building that opened up down town.” I was surprised. Actually, beyond surprised, my parents have been trying to get him to get up off his butt and on his own since he graduated high school. My mom has tried to teach him how to do his own laundry fifteen times. Trust me, I’ve been keeping count.
“Why the sudden change of mind? Cartoon reruns getting old?” I smiled, but that slowly faded when I saw Dean’s disapproving face.
Usually he would take this as a joke and come over and sit on me until I begged for mercy, but this time he turned off the TV, stood up and walked over to the door. “I’m twenty one Charlie. It’s about time I grow up.” I felt a ping in my stomach. “I got to go or I’ll be late.” He hesitated then closed the door behind him leaving me with a lingering feeling of embarrassment. I suddenly felt childish.
“Oh and Charlie,” I looked over and saw Dean peaking his head in though the door. “I recorded last night’s episode of Looney Tunes for you, just thought you ought to know.”
He shut the door once again, and instead of waiting for that feeling of childhood wash over me, I walked to the TV and deleted the recording.