BMX bikes and dollhouses

January 12, 2001

i’ve gone back to hiding in corners and peering out of windows. this is how i like it sometimes. the girl in the back of the classroom, covertly writing notes to her girlfriends, sketching out grand plans in a spiralbound notebook, shooting sideway glances at the boy over there. i wonder, sometimes, if i’ll ever grow out of that. that girlishness that is so ingrained in me.

i used to follow my big brothers around, wanting to be just like them: BMX bikes and comic books and rock music. after the sun went down, they’d come home from suburban adventures with dirt on their knees and a twinkle in their eyes, and i wanted so badly to know where they’d been and what they’d been doing.

instead, i had lip synch parties with my fisher price record player and played school with a classroom full of stuffed animals. i dressed my paper dolls up in clothes i’d made myself with rickety scissors and dull colored pencils. i helped mom in the kitchen and shopped by her side. i can pretend i didn’t like any of it, but i did. the next-door neighbor girls and i, we had our own adventures. and the secrets, oh the secrets on which we’d cross our hearts and hope to die, those were fodder for hours of giggles and nights of sweet dreams.

it’s silly, when i think about it, but i’m still very much that girl who cried when ricky tore off my barbie doll’s head or ahhhed when kenny held my hand at recess.

“i am such a girl,” lisaann and i lament to each other, and then we laugh, because it’s just the way we are.

but that doesn’t mean i can’t roll around in the dirt, pore over my brother’s comic books and yank off barbie’s ugly perfect head, too. sometimes, that sounds just as fun.


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