I had a hard enough time passing high school the first time, so it was a relief that I managed to do it again... squeaking through Lauren's 11th Grade Science final with a 64. That wasn't the only class I had to contend with, but it was the one I found most frustrating. And now, as one commenter asked, I'm looking down the barrel of one more school year as this girl.
It seems like the worst possible option, compared to dropping out and working, and letting Lauren get her GED when she comes back. What's the point in me absorbing an education and earning a diploma that Lauren won't have the relevant knowledge for when she gets back? Even if she never does get back, what's the point in wasting my time?
But that's what it's like being someone else... choices like that are kinda taken away. I have to live under her mom and stepdad's roof and live by their rules. I haven't asked, but saying "Hey guys, I'm gonna drop out of high school for a year but also take a vacation to Maine again in the summer" might take convincing. What I've already discovered is that people don't take teenage girls seriously when they express opinions.
After exams, the big thing was prom. As I told Meg, I wanted to skip it, but Lauren was on the planning committee and my absence would have been noticed. Not that I care, but I was pressed into service keeping things on schedule. That was harrowing, especially when you consider how much I've bungled her personal life already, and what I was wearing.
God almighty. The week before I was called in for a fitting. I've been walking around in this body for a little while now. As the temperature climbs I'm trying to limit my wardrobe to shorts and tanks, but in a 17-year-old girl's wardrobe those shorts tend to be very short and those tanks tend to dip very low across my chest. So no matter what, unless I'm picking the exact frumpiest things in Lauren's wardrobe (which I have) I am dressing "girly." This, though, was a whole other level: a light blue strapless chiffon number that I was constantly tugging up over my "girls" and worrying about tripping over or stepping on it in the four-inch stilettos. The fact that it only took a day or so of practice to get used to walking in them is a horrifying metaphor for my entire experience so far. On the night itself, I only wore them for a few minutes, then went barefoot. Some of the other girls brought slip-ons for dancing. My plan was to just not dance, especially because I was deep in menstrual pain. And it would have worked (I was doing a good job enduring repeated requests from guys) but the girls all wanted to drag me out on the dancefloor for the fast numbers, because apparently Lauren is a hilarious dancer. I'm sure I lived up to that: I definitely have no innate sense of rhythm, and I was constantly fussing with my dress. It was, admittedly, a little sleeker than the foofy numbers some of the others wore. I was just very aware of the way it draped around my legs when I moved, and then it gave me more than a moment's pause in the restroom.
Then there was the hair and makeup: hours and hours spent in the chair being fussed with every which way, and for what purpose? There is definitely a prom-industrial complex at work here.
It was a pretty terrible night. I sat at the table, picked anxiously at my food, watched teenagers slobber all over each other... got pulled aside every few minutes to check on something or other. I kept noticing Seann, Lauren's prom date who I dumped unceremoniously in my first week at school, casting glances at me from across the room, but even though we still had to share a limo he didn't have the balls to talk to me. Good.
I'm kind of jumping all over the place. I really wish I'd had time and energy to explain what happened at the time, but it's as simple as this: as soon as I got to school, I identified who Lauren's boyfriend was, and I told him I was going through some stuff and it was over. He asked for some further information, but another thing about being a teenage girl is that people kind of expect you to be emotionally volatile, and I know for a fact that teenage boys can't deal with that. It was all an act, of course, motivated by reality, but the tears and the screams of "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I CAN'T KEEP DOING THIS!" were fake. I think.
Anyway, this sent a bit of a shock through the group, but it's not like they were some legendary couple. They'd only been together for a few months, so all that meant was that Seann and his friends were less keen to eat lunch at the table with Lauren and her friends. The girls were pretty supportive, even if I slightly, perhaps rudely, brushed them off and said I was fine. Anyway, by prom he seemed to be over it, aside from those glances... he was dancing with all the girls. Maybe he got some pity sex.
I skipped the after-party, but because I had permission to be out late I decided to go to one of Lauren's friends' place. That would be Karlee. She's a cute, short brunette, kinda spunky and not too much of an airhead for me to deal with. Of all Lauren's friends, she's the one I've gravitated toward the most. Plus, she had a bottle of wine for us to split, which I was in favor of. She lent me some of her clothes to change into, because we were both tired of the gowns by this point. I shouldn't say it felt odd, since I've been wearing someone else's cloths for a month by that point, but it did feel oddly intimate to be borrowing her clothes. She even changed in front of me, and I took care not to look, because again, she's 17. We sat in her bedroom, and I bluffed my way through a conversation about old times, letting her do the talking. The drunker I got, the more I complained about my period, and she sympathized but I think I really came off as a "first-timer," which surely confused her. This led, somewhat appropriately, about how much easier guys have it, and I asked if she thought it would be better to be a guy, and she said she wasn't sure.
And maybe I'm just coming at this from a certain position, but how could you not be sure?
Then she got a text from her boyfriend, who is a few years older and out of high school (yikes, but can I really judge?) and left me at her place before returning at 4 AM. I'd judge her for that, but it was nice to be alone. We slept head to toe in her little bed. Well, I couldn't sleep. I was too wigged out sharing the bed with this person who thinks she knows me, and has this insane level of comfort around me, but is basically a stranger, and a young girl at that. Also she snored. Also-also, I felt totally shitty from the booze, getting up a few times to puke in her upstairs bathroom. I need to work on upping this girl's tolerance. Practice makes perfect.
The next morning, we got the lowdown from another girl, Ginnifer, about who hooked up with who at the party, who was disappointed I didn't go, and who was kind of glad. Teenage gossip. I guess I've got some enemies, or at least people who aren't fans, which is fair. People hold grudges over stupid things all the time, and this isn't limited to high school. As long as they don't make it a problem, it won't be one in the future.
Now that I can unclench a little, you might hear a bit from me. I have to admit, going out and making appearances as Lauren was kind of therapeutic. It got me out of the funk that settles in whenever I have a moment to think about how fucked-up my situation is, and how I still don't know much about the person who's got my body, besides one cryptic text: "Don't worry, I can handle it." Uh, right. But who are you, pal?
Mostly I'm walking around town, trying to find things that amuse me, and then find my way back home. Getting a lot of sun, unevenly tanning (which I've heard a fair bit from "mom" about.) Thinking about doing some running, something active, but it's too hot to do afternoons, I sleep too late to do mornings, and you won't catch me leaving the house un-escorted after dark in this body. Meg and I have plans to check out the city of Pittsburgh proper, but our schedules haven't lined up until now. Other than that, I guess blogging will have to figure into my coping. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say.