There was this girl I knew. She was 5’ 7” tall and weighed about 90 pounds. I know what you’re thinking: Anorexia. Nope. This was before any of us girls even knew anorexia existed. She weighed 90 pounds because she was only about 13 years old. It was that in-between stage of lost baby fat and the imminent arrival of lady lumps. I knew she was 5’ 7” because I heard her tell someone one day. People were always asking her how tall she was or giving her a hard time about it. Like, Hey how’s the weather up there? or What’s up daddy long legs? or something lame like that.
But get this:
SHE WAS THE TALLEST PERSON IN THE SCHOOL.
Not the tallest girl, but the tallest PERSON. Well, other than some of the teachers, but not all of them. One of the teachers actually hit on her during dress-up-day. She came “costumed” in one of her mom’s dresses, heels, giant sunglasses, hair curled, lipstick. He mistook her for a parent and thought he’d get in good with Mommy, I guess. That was kind of weird when he finally realized his mistake. Talk about an awkward moment.
This girl, she was really good at sports. She always played with the boys; football, basketball, soccer. I heard she was on a track team too, outside of school. She killed it on the basketball court due to her height advantage and how fast she ran. She would make her way from one end of the basketball court to the other like a baby giraffe, all long knobby limbs and loping strides to sink the winning basket.
The funny thing was as much as she stuck out like a, well, a giraffe she wasn’t a loner. Her friends were all the popular girls. The pretty, small, round ones with the flippy hair and pink manicures. The ones who wore bras and held hands with boys after school. They would eat lunch together and laugh and sing songs from the radio like that dumb Debbie Boone song, You Light Up My Life. And this girl I knew fit right in with them. It was funny, that. She was a quiet, giant, lightning rod amongst the soft, chatty flowers of teendom. And she was nice. Although one time I saw her kick Louis Langdon in the shins so hard he had to go to the doctor and she didn’t even get in trouble. A teacher (the one who had hit on her) defended her to the principal, so that was good. Louis Langdon deserved it, anyway. Who was he to point out that she wasn’t wearing a bra (because she didn’t need one) like her girlfriends? Pretty much not his business.
But that’s not the story I want to tell.
To be continued.
© Susan Bush 2010