The light in the bedroom is soft. It changes the movements of the girl and her mother into intricate dark dances along the wall. The girl moves her hand, making a shape of an animal. Something that is not her hand on the wall forms a swan. She giggles. Her mother is whispering into her ear, quietly, as not to wake the others. There is something about talking in the small hours of the night, something about the atmosphere. Things said carry more weight, and feel more important. Sarah's mother is telling her of the beautiful things she had seen, of cascading waterfalls or falling snow. They do this frequently, almost every night. Sarah looks forward to it every day.
She is four years old, and already the person she will be for the rest of her life. To her it is all very simple. If she needs something she will ask for it and if she wants something she will strive towards it. Even as a young child, she speaks with an air of confidence and intelligence without fear of contradiction or judgement. Embarrassment does not fit in. This is who she was, and who she always will be.
Her childhood is fast and blurry. The only thing that sticks in her mind is her mother, and the late night talks. As a teenager, she does all the things a rebellious teenager does. She plays loud music, she smokes weed. She mixes stolen vodka with fruit juice from the fridge, and makes mistakes on it. She dyes her hair, tries to write poetry. Neither of these work out.
Sarah is attractive, and is often approached by the opposite sex. If one is competent enough, and attractive enough, she asks them what kind of commitment they want. She then tells them the kind of commitment she wants. They back off, intimidated and scared. They tell her to fuck off, laugh at her, or just politely excuse themselves. She couldn't care less. It's all the same to her. It's very simple.
Sarah wants someone to spend the rest of her life with. Everyone she's ever met and everything she's ever heard has pointed towards her being happier with a significant other. Sarah is just able to see how perfectly simple it is. And if it doesn't work out, then so be it. It breaks, and you try again. For her love is a choice, not uncontrollable. She sees her friends caught up in a web of it, endless musings over what to do and what to say. It's almost like a game to them, with rules and levels of play. For her it is so much simpler. For her there is no game.
Her aggressive manner failed to work through the first three years of high school, but it did nothing to deter her. She kept asking, as they kept approaching. She developed a bit of a reputation around her high school among the boys as the weird one, or the clingy, attached one. She didn't care.
Then a month into her senior year of high school, a boy named Peter Holter turned and looked at her in class. And that was it. It hit her like a freight train. She had never felt anything like what she felt then. It was warm and addictive, a little bit too intense. It lasted a second, and then it was gone. She smiled at him, and he smiled back. Maybe if she wasn't who she was she would have waited for him to approach her. But she was very much exactly who she was.
She walked up to him after class, nervous. Sarah had never been nervous before. It wasn't a choice, it just came upon her. She tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, and smiled again. She took a deep breath and started to talk. Sarah told him, quite awkwardly, about who she was, what she had just felt, and what she wanted. Just right there, in the middle of the hallway. She waited for him to laugh, or simply walk away. She knew this time it would hurt.
But he didn't. He nodded, as if it wasn't important enough to voice it. He stared off into space for a moment, thinking the whole thing over. Then, quite suddenly, he leaned in and kissed her. Then, still silent, he walked away. She stood there disoriented, surprised and happy and a little bit in love. She had found what she was looking for.