a hero

I'll never forget the first day I saw her. She was wearing a short yellow dress with a flowing skirt and a big yellow hat. She sat in the front row of the ceremony, her lips matched the red curls that lay on her shoulders.

I was hot and bored. My dress was itchy and ugly. The dumb dress had this stupid polyester strap that made my belly feel trapped. At least it wasn't as ugly as Erin's. Erin had to wear this awkward long one with big ugly poofy shoulders. Or maybe hers just looked uglier because she was so tall and skinny.

As my dad and stepmom said their vows, my focus switched between gazing at the pretty lady in yellow and the ant crawling up the preachers leg. I think Katherine saw the ant because she nudged me and giggled but I am not sure if she saw the yellow lady. After they kissed and stuff, we finally got to eat cake and I still never talked to the yellow lady but I watched her eat cake in the corner. 

I wanted to be like her.

The next summer, we found out that mom was going to ship us off to Texas to live with my dad and stepmom for the next few months. It felt really scary for me to leave my mom but Katherine and Erin were going to be with me so I wouldn't have to talk so much.

And then when we got there the greatest thing in the whole wide world happened. What happened was this: that pretty girl in the yellow at the wedding the year before, she just happened to be my stepmom's baby sister. And it just so happened that my dad and stepmom were going to have to work all summer so that pretty girl in the yellow was going to be our babysitter. 

Now I knew I could turn into her somehow.

A few days later we went to meet her at her job. I think she was 20 or something. She seemed really old and pretty and free and it turns out that she had the coolest job in the world. You know what her job was? She was tinkerbell. I ain't kidding. Her pretty red curls were cut off by then but she had cute short hair that really helped bring her into this tinkerbell role. All she had to do for this job was dress like tinkerbell. And I mean she really looked like her with the wings and pretty face and romper-type outfit. And what she did was walk around and talk to little kids and give them fairy dust. Man, I wanted that job. I wanted to be pretty and give out fairy dust when I was older. 

So then when she got to be our babysitter for the whole summer it was the best thing. She must have been really smart because she could drive and she had a yellow jeep. A yellow jeep for criminy sake! I named it the jeepie and the funnest part of it is that she would drive over speed bumps really fast and me and my sisters would fly up in the air. We always wore our seatbelts so it wasn't anything to get too worried about and I don't think anyone else knew about it to get worried about it. My dad would have been worried but that didn't matter because we liked it. And then after that we would go to the movies and sneak lots of candy in her purse and eat eat eat candy. yum tum! 

And then there was the time on that really hot day which is always true in Houston but this day was really billy hot and so we asked her if we could go swim in a fountain. Maybe Katherine asked. I definitely didn't ask because I was too shy. And Erin knew too much about rules so she would have never thought up the ask. But it was one of those big type fountains where people throw coins in. This one had an enormo circle in it with water sprinkling out on all sides. It was very tall. Like a mini building type of tall.

She said, "Ok you want to swim in it? We can swim in it." So me and Erin and Katherine jumped in it and she came in to. And then we splished and splashed and cooled down. We still had our clothes on so it wasn't indecent or anything like that.

But then after some minutes a policeman came and said, "Hey get out of there. That's against the law." 

And then she went over and talked to him. I couldn't really hear a lot of what she said but some things like "oh it's hot" and "cool down" and "just having fun" and then before we knew it the policeman was driving away. And we kept on playing in the fountain! She was so good at doing that. I just wanted to be like that too when I grew up. I wanted to be able to do what I want and let people realize that if we are having fun then it's no big whoop to cool off in a fountain.

And it wasn't only that she let me do sort of bad things that my dad would have definitely said no to. It was also that she stuck up for me a lot, like big time. The first time she stuck up for me was when I had to go to the doctor and he told me I was going to get a shot. I really hated/hate shots and if someone wants to give me one they need to let me know months in advance so that I can mentally prepare for the shot going into my arm. It takes a few weeks of pinching and envisioning a needle going into my arm in order for me to be ready for it. So when this chump tried to pull the needle out on me right on the spot, I wasn't feeling very good about it. She was very mad that I was sad and yanked me off of the doctor's table and said, "How dare you tell this little girl she is getting a shot right here right now!" We left the doctor's office and I didn't have to get a shot. I liked how she stood up for me that day.

The other really kind thing  she did -- and this is a little bit strange to say so I am going to say it really fast and if anyone wants details about it they can email me in their free time, but here goes --so that same summer I got real sad because I missed my mom and I got sad because my stepmom wasn't my mom and I didn't understand that I could love two moms at the same time yet so I pulled a knife out on my stepmom because I didn't feel like I could handle it and I was also maybe kidding like I saw it in a movie or something. I didn't do anything with the knife but after that event, my dad and stepmom sent me to talk to a therapist. And because I hardly ever talked except to Katherine and Erin, I was really upset and uncomfortable to talk to this weird guy with weird glasses and a dumb belt. His name was Dr. Pesacoff. She called him Dr. Pissmeoff. She hated taking me there. She hated him and she hated that my parents did this to me. All I did there was make beaded necklaces for my mom. I didn't talk to him. I just missed my mom. 

I feel like every interaction with another person that we have in our life shapes us into who we are now. That was really only one summer but I haven't quite liked rules since. i won't ever like them and anytime I start to think I can follow rules, I don't because I know there are other options and I think she taught me that. I think it soaked in at a young age; like she taught me to try things even if they're different things, even if they're risky-type things.

When I went back to my mom after the summer ended I put two things out on my dresser. The first was a box of tinkerbell's fairy dust she gave me and written on the box in black marker it said, "to my little snotface". And the other thing I put on my dresser was a chewed gum ball tower which was created by chewing gum and putting it on top of old chewed gum until you had a large colorful tower of chewed gum.

I got that idea from her too.

-work intern