I keep seeing this girl around town all the time, and every time I look at her I feel as though we’ve met before, we’ve spoken to each other, almost became friends but blocked by a ‘well-meaning’ entity, most likely that sour-faced bitch I see her with, whom I assume the poor girl has to call a mother. She looks at me too, just like that. It’s so confusing. I’d need to just go up and talk to her. I’m 14 years old, I’m a poor kid. Nothing to lose, everything to gain, right?
So I’m in the park. I’m with my best friend in the whole entire world, Kevin. It’d be weird to see us around; we are total polar opposites but it’s such a bromance. I’m a white kid into grunge and hard rock; he’s a black kid into serious hardcore rap. Life’s funny like that.
And then she shows. She’s with her girlfriends, all dressed in rich-girl rags. She still has those bright red curls, shorter this time and more tousled, and those stunningly green eyes. They’re all in a line; she’s right at the end. They’re all talking; not to her. She’s alone, rejected, desolate (yeah, I’m poor and I know big words OHEMGEE). Typical rich kids; they’re quite laughable. All that money; not a friend to their name. I know what I’d rather have.
[beverly that er name oh boy don’t be you fohgettun it nah]
Seeing her alone like that gives me a little burst of confidence, so I decide to go for a skip down Memory Lane; I wonder if she’d join me.
I whistle to her. “Hey, you there! At the end! C’mere.”
She turns to see me. “Who, me?” she mouths to me and points to herself.
She looks at her ‘friends’ but nobody seems to even notice her. Blowing them off, she runs over to Kevin and me.
“Hi,” she smiles, “do I know you? You’re familiar.”
She seems a little creeped-out that I know her name and she only barely knows my face. “Umm...?”
“Oh, I’m sorry! Amm, my name’s Gerard. I’m not sure but I think we’ve met before.”
She pauses to consider the possibility, and to rack her mind for this particular event. Her eyes light up when she catches on. “Oh, I remember you now! Don’t you have a stutter?”
I laugh – yeah, she remembers! “I did, but I’m over it.”
She reaches her hand over to Kevin
[cant leve awt da blak gah no how]
and smiles at him. “Hi, I’m Beverly.”
“I’m Kevin, the token nigga of the group.” he smiled, not shaking her hand but pulling her over into a ‘bro’ hug.
She gasps, we laugh. “It’s okay, I can say it; I am black.”
“You ain’t no nigga, boy, you’s an Africun-Murican!” I say this a lot to Kevin, almost every time he says ‘nigga’.
“You can’t say nuttin, cracka-lacka!” And that’s his common reply.
“Beverly! What the hell are you doing?” Beverly’s friends finally notice her absence.
“You guys go on; I’ll catch up.”
They roll their eyes and walk on, their $200 shoes cracking ungratefully on the tarmac.
“Don’t you want to join your bitches?” I tease her, only half-joking.
“Yeah, that’s the right word – bitches. I hate them. I’m only with them because my parents feel I have to be. I have nothing important in common with them. I hate being classed in even the same gender as them. I don’t even have the same political views as them. They’re staunch Republicans while I’m a, what was it they said? Oh yeah, a ‘freeloading, liberal, hippie jackass’ Democrat.” Her eyes are sad.
“Man, I’d hate to be rich,” Kevin shakes his head in pity, “Can’t buy your real friends!”
“I’d give up every last penny to have a real family with real friends.” She looks at the ground. “I mean, seriously. Even if I show up at school in the ‘wrong clothes’, they ignore me for the whole day, and for a while afterwards. I can’t imagine what they’d do if they saw this.” She turns around, her back to us, fiddling with something. We boys look at each other in confusion. She turns back around to reveal studs in her lips.
“Oh, man! That is sweet!” I gasp, laughing. She is the last person in the world I’d expect to have those!
“You guys are so much cooler than those guys. I never thought I’d meet people like you. Y’know, people who are not conceited, stuck-up brats.”
“Believe or not there are more of us.” I laugh quietly to myself.
“Man.” It makes me sad that she knows no-one outside of her rich and grand lifestyle.
“Hey, you know, if you guys wait here, I’ll go and change my clothes, so I won’t look like a spoilt bitch pity-hanging with you losers.” She smiles, her tongue out, instantly forgiven. “I wanna look as though I have a life.”
“You sure you have those clothes?” I grin impishly at her. “Jeez, money sure can buy a lot, huh, Kevin?”
She scrunches her face up, a beautiful sight. “Will you guys wait there just two seconds? Or, do you wanna come?”
“Won’t we be, you know, outcasts? Have Faberge eggs thrown at us?” I smiled at her.
“Don’t worry, no-one will notice. The kids are out shopping, the dads are at work and the moms are fucking the gardeners.”