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Dear Dr. Powers
Dear Dr. Powers, [Letter one]
It was really hot today in the car. We were driving through Arizona, which I’ve heard tends to be a very hot state in summer, but I had no idea it got that hot. The weather guy on the radio said it was one hundred and one degrees so “slather on that sunscreen and hit the public pool”, which I would never do because mom says public pools are germ infested septic tanks. I don’t think its ever gotten that hot back in Connecticut. Not anytime I remember at least. Dad had the heater going in the car so it wouldn’t overheat, and all the windows rolled down, which was blowing hot air at our sweat drenched bodies. I was in the back seat with Daria, and any time I would move I could feel my skin being tugged cause it would get stuck to the leather seats. I don’t know why anyone would want leather seats in their car. In the summer they get painfully hot and in the winter they get painfully cold. Cloth seats are best in my opinion.
We have been in the car for two days now, on our way from Connecticut to New Mexico, which I assume is going to be as hot as Arizona. Dad had the radio on some oldies station that was playing Elvis and Johnny Cash, which was a step up from moms Abba CD that she had been listening to for the past hour. Daria had her ipod turned up all the way and I could hear her pop and hip hop songs playing. I’m pretty sure having you’re ipod turned up all the way can damage your hearing, but I wasn’t about to tell her that. She would have told me to buzz off. Dad said we would be arriving in New Mexico in a couple hours, which really didn’t excite me. I’ve lived in Connecticut for my entire life, and now I have to live in an entirely new city, go to a new school, and (hopefully) make new friends. That’s so daunting to me. I haven’t made any new friends since I was in kindergarten. The friends I did have in Connecticut I really only ever saw at school. We never hung out at the mall, or the movie theatre, or in someone’s basement, which is the places I assume normal young people hang out as teens. We didn’t have secret hand shakes like some other kids, or funny inside jokes, or and we didn’t swap clothes and makeup tips. I saw them strictly in class and at lunch. I guess I just wasn’t very close with anyone. Well, … except Jules, but I really don’t want to think about her right now. The pain of having to say goodbye to her is still fresh, and I’m sure it’s a pain that will last awhile.
The new school I’m going to in New Mexico is a public school, which I’ve never been to, and it’s also a coed school, which I’ve also never been to. Back in Connecticut I went to an all girls Catholic school called St. Ritas, even though my family isn’t Catholic. I guess mom and dad were worried that I would turn out to be like Daria was in high school, who one girl called a ’boyfriend stealing slut bucket’, so they sent me to an all girls school with no boys to influence and ruin me like they did her. My parents should realize at this point that me and Daria are absolutely nothing alike.
Daria’s coming to New Mexico with us to go to Central New Mexico Community College. She’s studying to be a nurse, which is shocking because of all the drinking and smoking she does. I kind of wish she wasn’t coming. Actually, I really wish she wasn’t. I know that sounds bad, but you told me to be honest with you, and honestly, I wish she want coming. She’s always been mean to me, and for no reason. Then when her teenage years hit, she went out of control. She always argued with my parents, snuck out at night to go to parties and who knows where else, she drank, smoked pot, most likely did other drugs… typical rebellious teen things, which she hasn’t quite grown out of at 20. She still smokes pot and cigarettes, still drinks, still has anonymous sex. Sometimes I do worry about her, although to her its not anonymous if you’ve known the guy more than five hours.
I guess Daria’s status of being a ‘slut bucket’ got around to St. Ritas because on my first day as a Freshman a girl came up to me and asked me how many men I had slept with that week. At first I was confused by her question, so she asked if I’m Daria O’tooles sister, and I replied yes, so she stepped close and asked me again.
“How many men did you sleep with, you little skank?” She smelled like cheap cotton candy perfume, the kind little tweens wear, though she looked like a Junior. I guess I should have assumed everyone at this school knew my sister, because she had a pretty big circle of friends which stretched further than her own school. And I guess I should have assumed they would know me as her little sister, mostly because me and Daria look so much alike. We both have blonde straight hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and tiny frames. Although Darias skin is now damaged and freckly from years in the tanning bed.
But I just blankly stared at the girl and told her I hadn’t slept with any men, but spent my weekend alphabetizing my book shelf and watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King extended edition (which is my favorite movie). She just looked at me for a few seconds, then looked at her friend, then looked back at me. Then she walked away. After that, everyone soon realized I’m nothing like my sister. No one really bothered me again. They pretty much treated me like wall paper, which is fine by me. Except Daria, who always makes fun of me.
Like yesterday in the car. We were parked at a Bp while dad got gas and mom got snacks for the road. She asked if we wanted anything, and I said I’d like a Nutrigrain bar and Dr. Pepperm which seemed to be my snack of choice on this road trip. But when mom asked Dari what she wanted, she just said that she doesn’t want any of that “shitty gas station food.”
“Daria, don’t talk to me like that.” Mom said, but Daria just laid her head back and put her sunglasses on and propped her legs over the front seat. I hate the way she talks to mom and dad sometimes. Its so rude. I wish she would be nicer to them. They deserve better. A lot of parents kick their kids out of the house when they rebel, or ignore them, or abuse them. But my parents are a lot more patient with Daria than she deserves, and she doesn’t even realize it. Sometimes I wish she would just tell them thank you.
Anyways, it was still so very hot in the car. The windows were rolled down and I was watching the heat waves on the ground, looking at the pattern it made. Then my phone chirped, alerting me that I had a text message. I opened my phone and saw that I had a text from Matt, which got me excited because I love hearing from Matt. All the text said was “What’s up?” and a smiley face, but it still made me happy.
“Who’s texting you?” Daria asked me, a notable mocking tone in her voice. She emphasized the you. I didn’t want to tell her it was Matt, so I lied and told her it was my friend Aubrey from Connecticut. I don’t really talk to Aubrey anymore, or any of my old friends for that matter. Daria just laughed at me and said that she knew I was lying.
“Yeah right.” She laughed that annoying cynical laugh she’s perfected. “Its that boy Matt, isn’t it? So pathetic that you actually text a guy you met online. How sad.” She lifted up her shirt to wipe away the sweat from her face, the jewel from her belly piercing glimmering in the sun.
I just said “He’s nice”, trying to sound like she wasn’t bothering me, even though she was.
“Yeah and he’s probably some forty five year old perv with a beer belly who lives in his moms basement.” She probably thought that was really clever.
“He’d still be a step up from the jerk losers you’ve dated.” I said, trying to insult her.
Then she looked at me and said “You guys aren’t dating, you loser. You text each other. And talk on the computer. That’s so beyond lame. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to meet him one day and fall madly in love? Get married and have kids? Little Matty and Laney Junior.” Then she really started to laugh the most obnoxious, hateful, hurtful laugh she could do. So I got out of the car and sat on the curb next to the BP and got out my phone to text Matt. I texted back “Not much. Just moving. What are you up to?”
And he texted back “Moving where?”
And I texted back “Not telling.”
And he texted back “Oooh, mysterious. I like that. Kind of sexy.”
I like that he called me mysterious. And sexy.
Daria is right. Mat and I only communicate through text and chatting online. The first time I talked to him was in a chat room for teens. I was bored one Sunday and wanted someone to talk to and my parents weren’t home, and my friends and I never hung out on the weekends, so I went online and typed into Yahoo “online chat rooms” and found one. Everyone in the chat was talking about their favorite type of music, and me and Matt both said that out favorite music is 90’s rock bands. Then we both said out favorite band is the Smashing Pumpkins, and that we both like the Foo Fighters and Oasis and Radiohead and even Guns N Roses. He kept calling the Smashing Pumpkins the Smashing Pumps, which seemed really cool to me. He told me a story of how a few years ago he had gone a to a Foo Fighters concert with some friends and how Dave Grohl (the lead singer of the Foo Fighters) threw his water bottle out into the audience and how he caught it! He even said that the water bottle still had some water in it, and he’s kept it ever since and it sits on his window sill. Then we joked how we could take the DNA from the water and clone Dave Grohl and form our own band. We both thought that was very funny.
I really liked Matt, so I kept going into that chat almost everyday hoping he would be on. I think he did the same, cause he was always on when I was. We would always talk really late at night, sometimes for hours, until one of us decided it was too late and that we should go to bed because we had school in the morning.
Then one day he said he wanted to know what I look like, and I’m not really embarrassed of the way I look like some girls are, so I uploaded a few pictures of myself on the teen chat website. He looked at them and then told me that I look like Scarlett Johansen, which I thought was very sweet, cause she is a very pretty actress. He may have just been being polite, but I said thank you anyways. Then I told him to upload pictures of himself, which he did. I looked at his pictures and told him that he’s really handsome. I didn’t want to say ‘hot’ because that sounds childish, even though he is very hot, so I said handsome, which sounds endearing. He has brown shaggy curly hair that hangs just above his blue eyes, full plump lips, and his skin is really smooth and tan. He’s also 6’1, which is tall, which is also very attractive to me. I really like tall guys, and 6’1 is tall. Then he joked and said that if we ever had kids they would have blue eyes since we both have blue eyes. That made me laugh but it also made me kind of nervous. Not the bad kind of nervous, but the good kind, like when you’re next to someone you really like and your palms start to sweat.
Our online chat soon turned to texting after he gave me his number. He said you should text me sometime, and then gave me his number. So I did, because I liked talking to him so much. And we’ve been texting ever since. The reason I didn’t want to tell him where I’m moving is because he also lives in New Mexico, and I think if I told him I’m moving to New Mexico, he will want to hang out with me in real life. I kind of just want to keep our friendship on the phone and online, which may sound odd, but its what I want. But the only awkward bit about talking to him is my real name is Laney (and I love that name, because I’ve only ever met one other Laney, so I think my name must be pretty unique) but Matt thinks my name is Sandy. The reason he thinks my name is Sandy is because I told him its Sandy, even though its really Laney. Laney O’toole.
The first time I told him my name is Sandy is the first time we ever talked in the teen chat when we were talking about music and the Smashing Pumps. My username on the website was DazedAndAbused, cause I wanted to seem edgy, and I thought DazedAndAbused sounded edgy. Matt asked me “So, what’s your real name DazedAndAbused?” I got real nervous because to me introducing yourself to someone is like letting them into your personal life, and that’s a little scary. So I just typed back the first name that popped into my head, which was Sandy, which was the name of Darias pet hamster she had as a kid, that died cause it got stuck behind the washing machine. And he’s been calling me Sandy ever since. Then he said how he loves the name Sandy because it reminds him of the beach and also the character in the movie Grease (which I had never actually seen, so I went out and rented it, and liked it so much that I bought the soundtrack.) but then I felt bad for lying about my real name because he was being so nice to me and telling me how I have good taste in music and how he wants to continue talking to me on the teen chat room. The truth is, now that I know him better, I don’t mind him knowing that my real name is Laney, but I think it would be awkward telling him that I lied about my name being Sandy. He might also get mad at me for lying and stop talking to me, which I really don’t want to happen. I like him way too much… as a friend… I think.
I have him saved in my phone as Matt. I wonder if he has me saved in his phone as Sandy.
Or maybe DazedAndAbused.
Or maybe internet girl.
Ok, I’m going to go now because dad just said we’re about to be entering New Mexico and I want to see the state I am soon going to be calling home. And moms asleep in the front seat snoring really loud and its hard to concentrate. And Darias still listening to her music with the volume at full blast.