Today was one of those rare days that are just all around awesome, with no detracting factors.
Peruvian Girl, an eighteen-year-old resident of my neighborhood, has been one of my closest friends since February of 2006, two months after both of our families moved into this development. She'd actually been Powell's friend first, and he introduced us on a night when German Boy, one of his friends from high school, was visiting.
He assured me that I'd "like" the girl he'd known for a few weeks.
I was seventeen, and she was fifteen. She thought it was neat that I could speak Spanish, and I thought she was pretty.
After we'd made acquaintances, the four of us decided to take a walk in the field behind our neighborhood, where local lore held a civil war battle had been fought, supposedly causing the farmhouse located there to be haunted.
I fell back with German Boy, whispering a just-concocted plan conspiratorially into his ear. He grinned, laughed, and nodded his head in agreement.
Peruvian Girl was very nervous by this point, and was asking us to take her home.
"This is the way home," Powell assured her as we walked in the diametrically opposite direction, entering a dark forest on the field's edge that bordered a graveyard. "This is a short cut."
Peruvian Girl described her perceptions of that night to me years later.
"I thought, 'Oh God, these white boys have taken me out into the woods and they're going to kill me,'" she said. "You scared me so bad."
German Boy and I followed at a steadily-slower pace as Powell and Peruvian Girl advanced farther into the darkness, and then we paused, and I called out something like, "Hey, who are you?"
"What?" German Boy yelled at the same imaginary person. "What are you doing?"
And then I released one of the ear-splitting high pitched screams that I was still capable of making at seventeen, German Boy shouted until his adolescent voice broke, and the two of us ran shrieking out of the woods.
Powell heard us and completely panicked, abandoning Peruvian Girl in his haste to find safety. Later he would claim that he'd known we were fooling all along, but Peruvian Girl maintains that the quickness with which he left her to the mercy of a potential psychotic killer was very genuine.
"You don't know how much I hated you that night," she confided later. "The first time you met me..."
Over the last three years, we've become very close friends. During the happy times of my Senior Year in high school, she was one of my thickest companions among a lively group, and during darker days, like the summer following my Freshman Year of college, she was one of the only people I had left.
Lately we've been lamenting the fact that we're never able to spend time together anymore, recalling wistfully the endless nights of the summer of 2006 when, along with Ghetto Boy, we'd stay out until three in the morning doing nothing.
Earlier this week we agreed that, should we not see each other until the weekend, we'd meet up on Friday, when neither of us has school and I don't work until the evening.
This morning she called me at ten-thirty, rousing me from a sleep that surely would have lasted several more hours had she not interrupted it.
I promised her I'd be over at around twelve or one, to which she replied, "No, that's too late! I want to make breakfast!"
"Oh, fine," I sighed, dragging my words out like a petulant child. "I'll be over soon."
I drove to her house shorly before noon anyway, and then we took a trip to the grocery store, where she bought bacon and I got Vitamin Water and some batteries for my camera, which I would need for a special event later in the day.
After getting back, we went over to a neighbor's house to tend the kitten Peruvian Girl had found and given to them. It was so cute.
We finished tending to the cat quickly.
When we arrived back at her house, she immediately threw the bacon onto the stove, and the smell of it was so delicious that we both helped ourselves to cookie dough ice-cream to stave off the hunger while we waited for it to be done.
When it was finished, I munched on pieces while she cooked the eggs. She shot me several reproachful glances before finally admonishing, "BB, stop eating!"
I laughed and backed away from the plate.
"Why don't you have some?" I asked.
"No," she said with an arched eyebrow. "You just want me to eat one so you can go and eat one."
I laughed again, found out, and she joined in with me.
"I actually want to save the bacon so we can enjoy all of the food together, BB!" she said.
I have to admit, I was cautious of these eggs at first.
Peruvian Girl is, as her pseudonym would imply, from Peru, but her parents are both full-blooded Chinese, and her culinary tastes come more from theirs than from the norms of her native country. The food they make is excellent, exotic, and always interesting.
The way she fixed her scrambled eggs was like nothing I'd ever seen. Before she actually started cooking anything, she chopped up peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and shredded some ham, all the ingredients necessary for what I thought would be a traditional omelet.
Instead of folding the egg over the spices and tomatoes, though, she melded everything into one delectable layer. The final result was incredible.
After I'd finished marveling at her cooking abilities, I decided to broach a very delicate subject with her.
"So, you're my best friend, right?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. "BB, we've been friends for like three years."
"Okay," I said. "Well, there's something I want to talk to you about."
"What?" she asked, but I was silent.
I was thinking, of course, about what I recently revealed to you all but had not confessed to any real-life friend, the truth of my sexuality. To me, this was a huge step, a monumental thing to be done. Telling someone other than family, other than people from whom I am shielded by anonymity, was a very important milestone, the beginning of the opening of the door to my new life.
She, though, seeing my look of intense concentration, burst out, "Oh, my God, are you gonna fart!?!"
I laughed despite the gravity that she could not pick up on, and assured her, "No, I am not going to fart, I promise."
She, however, mindful of my long tradition of explosive gas, repeatedly commanded me, "BB, don't fart!" while I was trying to gather the courage to make one of the most important confidences of my life.
"Peruvian Girl," I said. "I really have something to tell you. Wow, this is harder than I thought it was going to be."
She was silent then, finally sensing the seriousness in my face and voice. The scrumptuous eggs I'd consumed moments earlier were beginning to boil in my stomach, and for a moment I felt quite literally nauseous.
"Oh, my gosh, BB, you're white!" she exclaimed. "Like, even whiter than normal. Are you going to throw up?"
"No," I said. "I'm fine. Really. It's just, I think..."
She was hanging on my every word, looking very anxious.
"I think I might be...bi or gay."
Her eyes widened, a look of total shock spreading across her face.
"No way!" she said.
Then we went through everything, the people who'd approached her asking if I was gay, and how she'd always told them no.
Among these, interestingly enough, was a popular boy who came out as bisexual last school year but was still hiding it at the time we met. The funny thing about it is, I asked her at the time whether or not he was gay. My gaydar is usually hopelessly off unless the person is completely flamboyant, but I got an inexplicable vibe off of this very well-closeted individual. He was very cute, and I wanted him on a level even then, but I thought for sure that he didn't notice my glances and certainly didn't return my feelings.
Now that I know he was asking about me at the same time, I wonder if perhaps he was interested as well. I can't know, but the idea that someone that good-looking was as attracted to me as I was to him is an appealing one.
"I thought," Peruvian Girl said. "That you were going to tell me you were in love with me."
"No!" I laughed. "I mean, obviously that's not the issue."
She laughed, squealed in happiness, and hugged me. The reaction of one of my dearest friends was a relief to me, and she was obviously thrilled that I'd opened up to her. Several minutes later, she had another cause for delight.
I handed her my camera, stocked with fresh batteries, and gave her permission to do something she's been longing to do forever: straighten my hair.
She leapt from her seat and was back with a straightener and hair clips in about two minutes.
She quickly snapped two "before" pictures and went to work.
It took about ten or fifteen minutes, but the unruly blonde curls were tamed, the waves turned into thick straight hair that fell farther down my shoulders than I'd imagined it would.
The reaction at work was entirely positive, with nearly everyone complimenting me on the new look.
Manager recanted his previous statement that I should cut my hair, saying that if I styled it just a bit along with the straightening, it would look fantastic.
It's too much work to do all the time, but I do like how it looks. I wash my hair every other day, which means I'll still have this look tomorrow. After Sunday, though, my head will be adorned with thick, poofy curls again. I'm glad. It feels weird to have hair that doesn't envelope my face, that isn't difficult to tie back, that falls straight to my shoulders from behind my ears instead of exploding outward. This is more fashionable, but the old way is more me.
I hope that, as things get better, more days will be like today was.