Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

They threw her the best sweet sixteen any girl ever dreamed of, a dinner dance with fifty friends, a chocolate fountain, and an ice sculpture carved with her face except it was an angel with wings. Her parents bought her a Miata and her boyfriend gave her a gold monogram on a gold chain and everyone said she was the luckiest thing ever.

But that Monday, in chemistry, her lab partner gave her a CD. “I heard it was your birthday,” he said, even though she had never even thought of inviting him to the party because he didn’t hang out with any of her other friends. “I’m not into, you know, conspicuous consumption. It’s cheesy, but anyway, I like weird old music. Maybe you’ll like it too.”

And there were all these songs she’d never really thought about before like “Rain on the Scarecrow” and “Downeaster’ Alexa” and they made her cry and she couldn’t understand what she was crying for, because her father was a surgeon but the next week she gave the gold monogram on a gold chain back to her boyfriend and she skipped prom and went with her lab partner to look at the stars in the back of his pickup instead and that summer they volunteered at the shelter and she decided to be a lawyer for social justice instead of a fashion designer, which her mother thought she’d be good at, or a pediatrician, which her father encouraged her to do. She thought they’d be disappointed but they said a lawyer was acceptable even though she’d never make any money in social justice, but it was her life and if she made it through law school, more power to her.

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