16 marked my junior year. Nadia had been one of my best friends at school but she had left for a charter school to graduate early and was not there my junior year.
I had developed a new crush on a guy that worked at the grocery store and had mustered enough nerve to invite him to my 16th birthday party which was on the Friday following my birthday. My mom wanted to get to know the new guy so she suggested that I invite him to church the Wednesday before church. He picked me up from the house in a really sweet baby blue hatchback Nova. When I got in the car, it smelled like cologne which reminded me of an old man. I was really turned off. Then I noticed the way he drove his car, he turned the steering wheel funny and I could tell he was showing off for me. Big turn off. He held my hand at church–his hand was clammy! Gross!!! The next day, Thursday was my birthday. He called over and over but I wouldn’t answer the phone. My mom really didn’t approve of my behavior and told me to answer the phone so he could tell me happy birthday. So I did. Except he was calling to say that he was parked in front of my house and had a birthday present for me. My mom forced me out the door and there he was propped against his beautiful car with a dozen roses and a balloon. This was incredibly sweet when I look back on it. He was the epitome of all american. He was tall, slender, blonde hair and blue eyes. When he gave me the flowers he kissed me. I pushed him off and ran back inside my house. I didn’t even tell him thanks or bye. I thought I was going to vomit.
The next night was my birthday party and he showed up right on time. He came inside and sat right next to my dad. He was a good guy. Nadia showed up eventually with a thing of play-doh as my gift and I dragged her to my room, shut the door and me and her played with play doh through my entire sweet 16 birthday party. Eventually, the guests left and I told everyone Bye like a good girl. I never spoke to the guy at the grocery store again. Friends that went to school with him in the near by neighborhood would report that he was writing my name over and over and telling people that he had a girlfriend. But I refused to talk to him and avoided him when we went to the grocery store.
School was already in full swing and I had very few friends at the beginning of that year. I was in a shop class for theatre, making props that year. There was a girl named Liz in my class that was a senior. I had never seen her before but we hit it off right away. We hated the teacher and would get together and aggrevate him which was really fun. She also had a jeep and could drive so we would skip school to go vintage clothes shopping. I had been thinking about pot the whole year I had been “clean”. When Liz and I began to hang out, we also started smoking pot together. We would go to parties together, something that I had never done before. I would try to drink but it didn’t taste good to me and I was more content to just smoke pot.
I had begun to really have a problem with my dad. He wasn’t dead and he looked like he was going to be around forever. I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings so in true teenage form, I became really angry and hard to deal with at home. I was doing really well in playwriting and had actually won a contest which resulted in a check for $1,600. I had the check sitting on my night stand and the next morning when I woke up it was missing. I asked my mom where it had went. She told me that my dad used my check to put a down payment on a new car. The money was mine, earned with my own intiative and I had plans to put the money in a savings account for a college fund. I had had a college fund started by my granny when I was born but my dad had went through that money a long time ago and now he was stealing from me again. I think that was the breaking point. My hurt and anger turned to down right hate and it made me feel good to sit in the dark while I was going to bed and repeat over and over how much I hated him. School was out and Liz had graduated and had been accepted to Boston University. Miles from Texas. It seemed everyone had deserted me.