"Duped" by Nicolette Yarbrough
Just a few days earlier she spent over an hour on the phone painting me a vivid picture of her feelings for Tom Delonge, the emo one from Blink 182. I was a Mark Hoppus girl myself. We saw each other at school all day, but were never unsupervised long enough to get into the nitty-gritty about this and other age-inappropriate crushes we harbored, or how in the world we got away with replacing her mom's Grey Goose with water (seeing her mom coming, she smashed the bottle on the kitchen floor as a preemptive strike.) She slept with the family pitbull every night in a mess of sheets and dirty laundry, never bothered. My mom's compulsive organization prevented me from hiding anything in my bedroom, let alone amassing a pile of clothes that could bury my little brother. This particular evening we debated the merits of "Hybrid Theory" and "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket", two starkly different yet unexpectedly poignant records essential to our pre-teenage girlhood. We knew every line and loved every personalized skip. I took my music with me to camp and had my name neatly sharpied in the clear center of each disc. I was the kid who lost her beloved bug print slip-ons in the Ocean Beach dunes, so this was fair. She giggled something silly about practicing her cursive by writing my name repeatedly on loose scraps of paper and random objects that lay haphazardly around her room. Waiting for an explanation, I lingered on her incomplete thought that soon gave way to more important details such as "what are you wearing to the dance on Friday?" (who actually remembers what young girls talked about on those private lines? I was one and still have no idea.) I could never tell which deception was which and what they all achieved, just that they were there and I’d always be a pace behind. But, we could all be sure she had something to gain. This time it happened to be my CD collection that was left behind after a sleepover at her house.
One could not stress enough that the stage we were at was tumultuous at best, and our parents were in a continuous state of fear and exhaustion. The worst part is that we were only beginning to fully realize our angst and nascent independence with trips to the mall, secret piercings, and sneaking off to a rose garden at night with boys who would dare us to make out. A few years later I would look back on our innocent follies with a sigh as the severity of our indiscretions mounted and our group of friends succumbed to the consequences one by one. Arrest, expulsion, and rehab come to mind. Her nerve impressed me and inspired me to take risks completely out of my character. I never realized I wasn't enjoying myself until a movie night turned into an impromptu camping trip that turned into me freezing my ass off on a beach in Half Moon Bay in the clothes I’d slept in two nights in a row. And also did I want to ride along to Marin later to go swimming in her mom's friend's pool? Moments like those reminded me to appreciate my mother's lack of spontaneity .
Had she really told me she was writing my name all over the stuff in her bedroom? And that stuff just so happened to be the CD’s I was currently missing? Did it not occur to me that those two things could be related? Such a bold lie seemed too outrageous to be true, but that was exactly what she knew would work. I had yet to learn the best way to make someone believe you is to accept your own lies as truth. So I allowed the moment to pass, accepting and forgetting it ever happened mere minutes later.
I can still see her standing there, on that night when justice rang out, practically in tears as I tore the jewelcase from her hands. She insisted my precious Blink-182 was in fact hers and of course it had my name on it because she was writing my name everywhere and- didn't I remember? Even though it was my mom's handwriting and the rest of my CD's looked exactly the same. Speechless as I usually was with her, I could barely carry on in the debate despite my clear upper hand. Where would I even begin? What scared me the most was how long she went on defending her story. The look in her eyes was steadfast and matched the intensity of a small monsoon. The girl really knew how to commit. She still wouldn't give it up even after parents were involved and I walked away with my prize in hand. The win was tainted, though, by the thought that I fell for this ruse and probably many others before it. I realized it was her show that I just happened to be cast in and I would continue carrying out countless dramatic fantasies in the name of fun.