The Girl You Love

by Tai Farnsworth

Some Things You Know About The Girl You Love

1: You have three classes together so the only day of the week you don’t see her (besides weekends) is Thursday. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you pass her in the halls. She always wears lipstick on Mondays but never on any other day of the week. You’ve never asked her why but you suspect it has something to do with beating back a case of the Mondays, like she has to look perfect on Monday to nurse the wound of an almost forgotten weekend. You think that she must fix it in the bathroom over the course of the day because it never looks dry or cracked. It’s not always red lipstick. Some days it’s purple or pink. Once it was black. You like that she’s so diverse. You imagine she has a little case full of lipstick colors. Maybe she’ll show you the case and you can run your fingers over the hard, round metals. They are grown up crayons. You dream about kissing her and having little faded reds and pinks around your lips. It would be an intense, passionate kiss, so a little might get on your teeth. You wouldn’t mind.

2: Her hair is very long. You’re pretty sure it’s dyed because it’s blacker than your friend Tamaki’s hair and that’s straight up Japanese black. But over the year you’ve known her it’s always looked impressively sharp, so you can’t be sure. You consider what it would feel like to wash her hair. Maybe some of the hypothetical dye would come off and swirl down the drain in a black-purple mess, like when you try to wash a permanent marker off a white wall. It looks soft. Maybe it would be so soft you could wear it or drape it over yourself to keep warm. You think she might be able to wrap it around her waist at least twice, but you’ve not seen her try. She wears it in braids that run down her sides or twist around her head. When she tucks it all into a huge hat, you pine for it. It’s best when she leaves it alone and the long strands swallow her. It’s like she’s hiding in it and you think maybe she would let you hide in it too. The girl you love would smile and pull her hair around you like a cape.

3: She cracks her knuckles. Actually, she cracks all her joints. Her back twists like a racetrack whenever the teacher starts to lecture and you can almost feel her spine shifting, stretching, and preparing. Before a pop quiz, she jolts her neck from side to side like she has to jiggle the answers out of her brain and onto the paper. But before a test, when she knew to study, she only has to crack her knuckles. She stored the answers in her hand overnight so they are nearby and easily accessible. You don’t mind this about her. In fact, you think it’s sweet. You wonder what it would feel like to lie next to her, to press your ear against her spine and absorb her expended energy. You want to walk on her back and let each vertebra tighten and release under your weight. Once you overheard someone admonishing her for this habit. He said it was going to give her arthritis and that also it was just gross. She didn’t say anything back, but just cocked her head and gave him a small smile. You like that she doesn’t care what people think.

4. You don’t ever sit next to her because, frankly, you’re sure you can’t be trusted to keep your hands off her. How embarrassing it would be to have your first conversation start with you running your fingers through her hair or lightly caressing her shoulder. You always sit in the adjacent row two seats behind her. You can pass off any staring you might succumb to as intent listening. When you walk past her or she’s near you in the hall you can smell her. The girl you love smells a little like dirt. And honey. It’s not like she doesn’t shower. It’s an earthy smell like she’s a flower fresh from the soil. You know that she works at a gardening center and spends a lot of her free time at a community patch a block from the school. You walk by it some days and try to guess which one is hers. As you meander through row after row of sunflowers and zucchinis, you try to sense where she may have been last. You’ve never gardened before but it must provide a real sense of relief and accomplishment to bite into a watermelon you nursed from a seed. Gardening gives her a luminescent quality, as if the rays of the sun penetrated her skin and then just stayed there, shining out for all to see. You like the dirt under her fingernails.

5: Overalls are her favorite clothing. She has long and short jean overalls. She has the khaki kind with many pockets and one pair with multi-colored vertical stripes. There’s one that is actually a skirt, and one that is made of velvet. She even has a pair that has words written all across the fabric. You’ve seen her in other clothes. Dresses, skirts, shorts, and jumpers. She never seems as comfortable or as happy as she does when she’s in her overalls. The best outfit you’ve ever seen her in was a long pair of jean overalls, a black tube top, impossibly high pink platforms and beaded tapestry-like earrings that hung to her shoulders. Even though her hair was up that day, she was radiant. You have fantasies about her inviting you to her house. When she’s in the bathroom or maybe getting a glass of water you would stand in front of her closet and run your hands over every pair of her overalls. You would bring your nose to them, close your eyes, and imagine her kneeling in the dirt nursing a sunflower to fruition. And when she asked you what you were doing maybe you would be brave enough to tell her you love her. You could tell her you love everything about her but especially her overalls. And maybe she would love you too.

Some Things You Don’t Know About The Girl You Love

1: She has 258 pairs of earrings but she didn’t pay for any of them. Some of them were gifts but mostly she stole them. Whenever she goes shopping she brings a pair into the changing room with her and slips them off their flimsy plastic protectors and into her pockets. She has never stolen anything other than earrings (except for one time during the holidays when she stole some pumpkin spice coffee creamer, but that was an accident). She sorts her earrings in chocolate boxes, one pair in each little chocolate oval, circle, or square. At first she just did it because it was convenient. Then she started doing it because it gave her a reason to buy chocolate. She smells each pair closely before putting them on. The chocolate/earring boxes are labeled by color and size. She also has a box specific to each holiday or season. And some days, when she’s feeling a bit fragmented, she’ll wear a different earring in each ear.

2: She always talks during movies. And not just during the slow establishing shots or the long, drawn out dialogue. She talks during the important parts too, but never about the actual movie. She talks about her favorite herbs, or about her flip-flops sticking to the theatre floor or how stale the popcorn is. The girl you love doesn’t like going to movies. People don’t want to go with her anyway so it hardly matters. But on those rare first dates or special occasions, it’s always a disappointment. She just can’t focus her attention that long and she doesn’t think it’s valuable to spend time with someone in a dark room staring at a screen full of strangers. It feels culty, creepy, and unproductive.

3: When she’s alone she picks her nose and flicks it on the ground. If you were to walk around barefoot in her bedroom on Saturday you would be walking around on a week’s worth of boogers. The housekeeper vacuums on Sunday. The girl you love is not trying to be gross. She just doesn’t really think about it. One time her mother noticed her doing this and went into conniptions. The girl you love shrugged it off and noted that she washes her feet everyday and doesn’t ever put them in her mouth. She doesn’t see the reason to be worried about what’s on the ground unless you can feel it and she can’t feel her boogers. The mother only comes in her room when she’s wearing shoes.

4: Her older sisters taught her how to perform auto cunnilingus when she was twelve years old. They showed her how to lie flat on the floor and flip her legs over, tucking her head tightly in between her thighs. They explained that it kept her virginity safe because she’d never need to give it up to a boy just to get satisfaction. She’s never shared this secret with anyone but her sisters. She’s also never shared her virginity.

5: She sincerely believes in vampires. In order to ward off their impending attack she eats garlic at every meal, including breakfast, which is usually a garlic tea or garlic scrambled eggs. She wears silver bangles on her wrists and has crosses all around her room even though she’s a committed atheist. She doesn’t read any vampire books or watch any vampire shows because she’s sure they will only exacerbate her fear. She does pay close attention to the tabloids, where she believes the first signs will be revealed. She even took a vampire survival class once where they taught the participants how to properly stake an attacking vampire and how to slow your pulse so they stop feeding.

6: She’s only sixteen. The youngest senior in her class.

Tai Farnsworth is an LA based writer in the midst of an MFA program and a snuggle battle with her cat. She lives with her upsettingly talented partner and many mason jars.