Written: August 17, 2005
I am old. I’m content with this. My friend Candice is always telling me, “You are so old.” “You are older then me!” is my usual reply. “No, I might be mumma old but you are granny old.” I’m 24. So is Candice, but there must have been some kind of youthful gene that mutated sometime between the fetus stage and birth. I don’t know what happened. At first I thought it was because I was an only child. I had my own friends but I spent a lot of time with my mother and her sisters. But that wasn’t it. I have an old soul. Very old.
I went to Kindercare around the age of four and found two other little girls who were a mixture of old and grown. Someone tell me why three four year olds pretended to be The Golden Girls on the playground? Nikki was grown and a bit frisky so she was Blanche. The other little girl whose face I can see in my mind as clear as day but whose name I cannot remember, played Rose. Katrina! That’s her name. And because I was the tallest, I played Dorothy, always the voice of reason, which I am to this day. We walked arm in arm around the playground, clutching our playtime pocketbooks, talking about imaginary Stan, Charlie and Sophia whom we took turns imitating since we couldn’t find another girl to complete our quartet. “Picture this. Sicily, 1942.” We sat on the edge of the sand box with bucket lids sprinkled with sand, pretending we were the Golden Girls having one of our late night conversations over cheesecake, which was always good-even though none of our four year old selves had tasted it for real. Yeah, I told you I was old. It didn’t stop there.
Somewhere between 4th and 5th grade as the oldest students at my private school, we (my friends) felt the need to create play families. Almost each girl in my class had “pretend” children who were in kindergarten, except for me. I volunteered to be an aunt because I didn’t want any of the grown bad behaving kids in the kindergarten and I made it known that I was not available for baby sitting. So old.
My friend Candice, who I met my freshman year in high school, constantly pointed out my old tendencies throughout our high school experience. I had several guys approach me. No let me rephrase that. Approach definitely does not sum up their style.
“Hey girl!” a boy yells from the back of the bus. I just knew he wasn’t talking to me.
“Hey man, what’s her name?”
“Hey Brandy.” I slowly turned my head and peered over my glasses for effect because I knew that any sentence beginning with hey girl wasn’t going to prove itself productive.
“You go with somebody?” I did give him some extra points since he had kicked it up from the middle school approach: note passed in class; you wanna go together? Check yes or no after the customary do you like me was answered. But he still wasn’t going to get anywhere with hey girl.
My answer was to the point “no”. I could give my usual lengthy response but I figured it probably would be wasted on immature ears. His immediate assumption was that if I was available at all then I must be available to him. This was not the case.
“You wanna go wif me?”
Go with you where? We didn’t live near each other and I wasn’t about to have one of those school romances where we hold hands walking down the hall, acting uncomfortably goofy at each other’s locker. Neither one of us could drive and I hated to see parents drop off a van full of young teenagers at the mall for six hours because what else can they do? My philosophy was this: I’m just starting to discover some features on this body I have. I don’t need to hook up with someone who is also discovering their features. I sure enough don’t need to hook up with some older guy who thinks he’s got a little experience under his belt and wants to use my features just because they are all fresh and new. As soon as the car leaves the lot it loses its value. This car was staying on the lot till the right person came along who knew how to take care of it. So what was I going to do with this boyfriend that I couldn’t do with a friend?
Many of the behaviors and habits you learn in your youth stick with you for a long time and are hard to break. Why would I practice getting together and breaking up with someone? No thanks. I had seen too many girls invest intimacy at an early age only to reap bitter repercussions. I had a choice and I didn’t want that. I wanted something better for me. And yeah some of this did go through my head when this boy gathered the courage to ask me out across the length of a school bus.
“No, that’s all right. I’m fine just the way I am.” Of course he got clowned by the other guys on the bus which made him move to the seat in front of me to continue his adolescent wooing.
“Why you don’t wanna go wif me?”
“I don’t want to go with anybody right now.”
He kept on. That didn’t stop him.
“Somebody didn’t treat you right?” It was time to pull out the religion on this fella.
“I am fine by myself. Just me and Jesus,” I said with a laugh. “You and Jesus?”he replied.
A simple no hadn’t worked. Jesus had. Power in that name.
“It could be you, me and Jesus.”
Some guys never quit.