before kerri turned weird, she was cool. she sat in the back of the classroom and made blue bic ink doodles in a strathmore sketchbook. hourglass ladies with waterfall hair and heart-shaped lips. boys wearing baseball caps and converse sneakers. she perfected the catholic school girl with nobby knees.
i don’t know how, but i became her disciple. she taught me how to draw pretty faces and i showed her the secret to folding notes like polo shirts. we practiced our alphabets and debated the merits of a curly-tailed “y.”
when mrs. lucey would walk by we’d swiftly slip our sketchbooks beneath our stack of books.
kerri also wrote stories, the first stories i ever read that weren’t printed and bound and shelved. i remember one, in particular, about a beautiful girl, a waterfall and a devastatingly handsome man who saw her reflection in the water. i remember kerri’s perfect handwriting in blue ink and loose leaf paper. i wanted to write like that.
(i remember, later, writing something a lot like it, too much like it, and trying to convince myself that my story was original.)
kerri turned weird in 8th grade, when she started to stalk joey mcintyre, the youngest member of the new kids on the block. she returned from her first concert totally smitten. at the second concert, she met him. by the third, they were friends and she was going backstage and, like oh my god, they were Going Together. apparently, she had the right stuff. they were hangin’ tough.
and she had no more time to hang out with me.
i convinced myself it was okay because i would rather listen to r.e.m. than n.k.o.t.b., and i would rather dot my i’s with dots than hearts. i practiced writing in my sketchbook until i perfected my alphabet. mine was way better than hers.
(THIS IS PART OF AN ONGOING SERIES OF PEOPLE I REMEMBER.)