The blonde girl at the bar was pissing me off. There she went, flipping all that blonde hair everywhere like she was simply here for the fun of it. Flirting with the boys like she had nowhere else to be but here for everyone to adore her.
I looked at my measly wallet full of small change and knew that I didn’t give off that impression. I thought about my old brown flats, my old jeans and my blue sweatshirt that was getting faded in a bad way.
I wondered how I felt about who I was. I wondered if I was jealous, if part of me wanted to be her.
I turned to the blonde at the bar again. She leaned forward towards one of the guys and laughed sexily at whatever he said.
I’d had enough, I thought to myself and walked out. I knew no one was watching me leave because I didn’t dress my self up like she did.
* * *
The next week was a transformation week. I got a new coat of paint on my pickup truck that had previously been a bit spotty in the paint department.
I got layers on my hair and dyed it a copper red color. I got a pedicure. I went and found the heels I had in the back of my closet and set them out. Then, I went shopping with my credit card and got a few flashy clothes.
* * *
I called up one of my old friends named Angela whom I hadn’t seen in a while, “Lets hit the bars tonight. Nothing too crazy or whatever, just some showing off our young bodies.”
Angela agreed and I picked her up. I had a new shine on my pickup. I was in heels. I hadn’t died my hair blonde but my hair looked pretty dang good. I felt beautiful and confident and just a little bit like Marilyn Monroe.
“Here I go,” I told myself as I strutted into the bar with my friend, like I was just here until I found my beautiful people universe.
“Well my night just got better,” one of the old men said as I walked in. I gave him a smile as I went up to the barstool. And so that night I ran the town. I wondered if anyone was pissed at me for just being so confident and the center of attention. I wondered if no one cared.
Later on, I was talking to one of my friends named Andrew. “So what’s with the new look?”
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could be someone else. I wanted to be that girl,” I responded airily, like I did this everyday.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because now I know I can be someone different. Why do I need to explain myself to you?”
“I don’t get it, it seems kind of dumb. Just let everyone be who they are. Not everyone was born to be that girl,” he said. I knew they were wise words but didn’t want to hear anymore when he continued, “Maybe you don’t need to try being someone else. Maybe you should watch the it girls when no one is looking. See if they look happy then. Or see if you can see the loneliness in their eyes.
I rolled my eyes, “You just don’t get it.”
* * *
Years later, I was sitting in a restaurant where I was eating with my husband and longtime friend Andrew, and kids. I saw her across the room. The blonde girl who had made me so mad one day.
She was sitting there with her family, just like me. She was still the center of attention, I watched as the young guys looked at her across the bar. She threw her hair over her shoulder and so did her two young daughters. She wiped her face off with a napkin and then smiled and her son did the same, smiling back at her.
I saw her and then I turned my attention back to my family with a slight smile on my face. Andrew was looking at me with love in his eyes. “See?” he asked.
I did see. I saw that she was different than me and yet we both had families. I saw that she got so much attention and I saw her eyes when she thought no one was watching. I saw that she would always be the center of attention but she would also feel lonely inside.
I saw her and she no longer made me mad. I no longer wanted to be like her.