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Before Lily, I was a fantastic kisser. That is to say, compared to everyone I ended up making out with, I was a fantastic kisser. But lying under a tree one day, listening to her giggle over the way my mouth fumbled or how my attempted moans ended up sounding like dying piglets, I felt like just about the worst kisser the world had ever seen. Eventually I just gave up and sat against the tree, watching her make daisy chains and hum a song from some musical that she liked.
She looked up at me and laughed.
“You don’t have to be upset, you know,” she said. “You’ll get better with some practice.”
“I am not upset,” I mumbled.
“Uh huh,” she chirped, re-focusing on her daisy chain.
I smiled in spite of myself, letting my eyes drift towards the rays of sunlight that ricocheted off of her obnoxious purple hair — her obnoxious purple hair that I
somehow loved more than anything, ever. I suppose you could say that my feelings for Lillian Tragic were a bit convoluted. “Bullsh*t,” she’d say to that. “You just hate that I beat you at everything.” And that may be true, but of course I’d never admit it. Besides, I could do a lot of things that she couldn’t, like somehow manage to not notice the ants that were crawling up the tree’s trunk and around my lower back.
“F***!” I screamed, flailing around as I tried to get the ants off of me. Lily just sat back and laughed, like every sensible person would do if their girlfriend was being bitten everywhere by ravenous insects. When I finished slapping them away from me, I realized for the thousandth time what a sh*tty girlfriend she was.
“You suck,” I muttered. She was still laughing.
I grabbed my stuff and started to leave, even though I already knew how that would turn out. I would vow to never talk to Lily again, and then she would call my name from under that tree and I would look back at her as she made her stupid adorable daisy chains in that stupid gorgeous blue dress and I would walk right back over, then suggest that we grab drinks at Starbucks. I could never really leave her, and I was aware that this was probably my worst attribute. When I think about it, Lily had been f***ing me over like that since the day we met.
It was the December of sixth grade, and I was working the spotlight at our first dress rehearsal of Alice In Wonderland. The spotlight was kind of a huge deal at the time, and sixth graders hardly ever got to work it. This made me feel like hot s***, naturally.
That’s when I saw her. She came gliding onto the stage in a lacey white dress, clutching her head and muttering something to herself. Her hair was this electric shade of blue that seemed to jump out at me from across the auditorium, and I couldn’t take my eyes (or the spotlight) off of it.
“Bread and butter, bread and butter, bread and butter,” she murmured. I sat there mesmerized, the allure of my celebrated duties as spotlight-worker all but forgotten.
“Am I addressing the White Queen?” asked the girl who played Alice.
“Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing. It isn’t my notion of the thing at all.”
I audibly laughed at that, causing the scattered audience members to turn around and glare at me. I blushed and mouthed a “sorry” to the White Queen, who was grinning.
“If your Majesty would only tell me the right way to begin, I’ll do it as well as I can,” said Alice.
“Well,” said the White Queen, “it’s simple, really. It’s just a jump to the left, and a step to the right —“
I heard our director sigh from a few rows away.
“Lily, that’s not the line.”
“I know,” she explained, “but it should be added in, don’t you think? I’m sure Lewis Carroll would’ve loved Rocky Horror. Right, spotlight girl?”
I blushed. I hated drawing attention to myself, and that’s all this Lily girl had been doing to me so far.
“Just keep going,” the director growled. “With the actual lines, for God’s sake.”
“Fine,” sighed Lily. “…But I don’t want it done at all! I’ve been a-dressing myself for the past two hours.”
The Alice girl put on a painfully fake smile.
“May I put your shawl straight for you?”
“Oh, honey, never straight,” Lily told her. “Always gaily forward.”
“Lily!” yelled the director.
“Sorry, I’m sorry!” she chirped.
The director made her get off the stage anyway, and I grinned throughout the entire second act.
After that rehearsal, Lily came and talked to me between classes sometimes, which turned into Lily sitting with me at lunch, then Lily coming to my house after school, then Lily appearing at my window one night with two trench coats and a jar of Nutella. This would happen often later on, but the first night was special.
It was the summer before our first year of high school, and I was sort of ashamed to admit that finding Lily outside my window at one in the morning wasn’t entirely unexpected.
“Can I help you?” I asked, because it seemed like the appropriate thing to say to her in that situation.
“We’re going to the beach,” she said. That’s another thing I hated about her; I got no say in anything we immersed ourselves in.
So I climbed out of my window, put on the ridiculous trench coat that made me feel like something out of an overdone BBC show, and proceeded to walk the two miles to the beach with a silent Lily at my side.
When we got there, she opened the jar of Nutella and ate a few fingerfulls of it. She still wasn’t talking.
“It’s really foggy,” I said. “What if there are like, rapists here?”
“Calm down,” she said. “It’s magical, look.”
She was right. The moonlight made the sea twinkle beneath the buildings of downtown, and as I gazed out at them I felt the allure of the nightlife, the unrelenting promise of a city skyline.
“The moon looks like the Cheshire Cat’s grin,” I said.
“You know what that means, right?” Lily murmured. “We’re in Wonderland.”
I slowly turned towards her, perplexed. She looked at me desperately, searching my face for something — what was she looking for? There was nothing about me to brood over, I wasn’t fascinating the way she was…
“What?” I asked.
She didn’t reply, but merely shook her head, still looking at me like I was the most precious thing on the planet. Then, with a hesitation that I had never seen in her before, she cupped her hand to my cheek and kissed me. Suddenly, everything else disappeared — the moon and water and city lights vanished, and there was nothing but her, nothing but Lillian Tragic and the smell of her hair and the taste of Nutella on her lips.
She pulled away, and all I could think to do was utter a stammered “what the f*** was that?” before smiling and kissing her back. I knew what the f*** it was. In a way, I always had.
From then on, Lily had always been that annoying part of my life that I couldn’t fathom being deprived of. It was sort of like what having a period is like, except prettier and less likely to ruin your sex life. I told her that once while we were eating french fries and she squirted ketchup in my face, once again accusing me of ‘objectifying ladyparts.’
Once in math class freshman year I was having a bad day, probably due to the fact that I had gotten about two hours of sleep the previous night. I don’t remember why, but I do remember being woken up by the teacher’s ruler slapping against my desk. The people around me snickered and I regained composure, turning towards the front of the room and forcing myself to pay attention. I tried to listen to what the teacher was saying, but all I could focus on was the white board blurring into oblivion and my thoughts droning through my mind stupidly — quadratic formula find the parabola sleep Tumblr isolate “x” food girls sleep graph paper sleep sleep coordinates sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep…
A feeble tap on my shoulder jerked me into consciousness, and I turned around to find Michael, the shy Asian guy who sat behind me in almost every class. I wondered briefly why he would ever need to talk to me, and then realized who sat a few seats behind him — Lily, of course. He handed me a folded-up piece of paper and I thanked him, then turned back around.
I had plenty of valid reasons as to why I was failing half of my classes, and Lily was one of them. She was my girlfriend and my best friend and pretty much my only friend at that point, since everybody else sort of alienated themselves from us after we pronounced our flaming lesbianism earlier that year — also, she liked to write me letters during class. So even when I wanted to pay attention, there were always Lily’s letters to respond to. And as a rule, girlfriends are much more important than schoolwork.
This particular letter was short enough to just be considered a note, but of course it was in letter format. Lily wrote everything in letter format, even her text messages. I read it under my desk so the teacher wouldn’t see.
Meet me at our tree later. I’m bringing Nutella.
With all due respect,
I didn’t get why she couldn’t wait three minutes to tell me when class ended, but then again, I didn’t get Lily. No one did. So I just looked back at the clump of faded violet hair that was my best friend in the whole world, and she flashed me that cheeky smile of hers, and for a little while everything was all right with me.
Which brings me to the kissing and the ants and the almost-leaving, which never got anywhere close to actual-leaving, because who am I kidding? I needed Lily the way she needed excitement and power and new things to f*** up, and as much as it pissed me off, I was honored to be a source of that for her. And she knew it, the b****.
“Starbucks sounds nice,” she said, after I suggested that we go there the way I knew I would. “You’re paying, babe.”
“Of course, Lily,” I said. “Whatever you want.”