When the new girl came to Hampton High
I envied her.
She had china-blue eyes like the models
on the cover of Seventeen.
Her blonde hair was straight and silky
and draped over her left shoulder.
I suspect she sprayed on highlights.
Her clothes, I think, came from Abercrombie
(if they had an Abercrombie in Utah where she was from).
I thought about Utah.
It seemed remote, deserted.  I pictured it
with open spaces and white fluffy clouds and those
red buttes I saw once in a National Geographic.
The boys worshipped her.

I especially hated the way Mrs. Brown
in English literature class said to her,
“Oh, you won’t need to do this research project.
We’re almost finished with it now.”
I’m not sure who she meant by “we.”

I thought how lucky Christie was in many ways.
If I moved away mid-year,
I would have everyone in my new school
envy me and maybe I wouldn’t have to do research reports
and maybe all the boys would fall in love with me.
But I didn’t have Christie’s blue eyes and silky hair,
so maybe it wouldn’t be so great.

It wasn’t so bad at first having Christie
there in English literature class
sitting next to David.
I knew David loved me.
But then one day I saw his eyes meet hers–
she gazed back at him with those dreamy blue eyes
and I was afraid.
Envy became hatred.

I would pull her hair out.
I would rim her perfect eyes
with black and blue circles.
But that was just a fantasy.
Instead I felt the hurt gnaw at
a spot somewhere near my heart.

When May came, we decorated for the prom
and bought pastel dresses.
Christie must have had her pick of dates, I thought.
I didn’t see her there that warm May night,
but I was wrapped in David’s arms in the semi-darkness
beneath crepe paper and revolving lights.

Graduation neared–
We were fitted for robes and we
laughed at the white and purple squares balanced
precariously on our heads.
Saturday came in warm and bright.
We lined up–jitters inside,
Crying tears of joy and fear for
endings and beginnings.
I noticed vaguely Christie’s place between
Andrea and Mark was empty.

It wasn’t until the parties were over–
when our lives changed with plans for fall–
that we found out about Christie.
Christie–the one I had envied and hated,
the beautiful cover-girl type who flirted with the boys–
had made no friends at Hampton High,
had not been asked to the prom,
had longed for the buttes of Utah
and someone to love her,
and would not go with us into our futures
when the air turned crisp
and the leaves fell from their secure places
onto the frosty ground below.

© Barbara Flass 2001

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