“What rhymes with love?”
My personal failed attempt at adolescence: too fat to comfortably fit in the largest (read: not that large!) female band uniform, hopeless awkwardness that manifested itself as a torrent of marginally funny jokes blurted at inappropriate times, thick plastic glasses prescribed for nearsightedness and definitely not for fashion, crushing on the first chair sax player, acutely aware that he would rather eat his own shoes than talk to me.
Marjorie and I went to the library during our free period to map out a plan, which is the kind of thing a person on television would do, which is why I thought I should try it. I didn’t know how to talk to boys in a way that wasn’t off-putting, so M offered to be the Cyrano de Bergerac to my fumbling Christian de Neuvillette. I had no idea how to convince someone who pointedly avoided your table in the cafeteria to fall in love with you. I spent a lot of afternoons flipping through all the issues of Seventeen magazine I’d saved so I could keep track of all the things they said I should be doing when I finally woke up one day to discover that my ugly duckling had turned into a beautiful swan overnight.
M suggested I write him a poem. Poems are deep, poems are meaningful, poems are the kind of thing that would set me apart from everyone else who just exchanged numbers or suggested cafés to pretend to like coffee in after school like normal people. I could show him how smart and sophisticated I was; poets are sexy and mysterious. Was I, a person who put pizza rolls in a preheated oven and ate them over the sink, a mysterious person with whom he’d want to have sex?! Possibly! “What rhymes with love?” I asked, picking up a pencil, and she rolled her eyes and snatched it out of my hand.
We decided that instead of writing a Dr. Seuss rhyme I should memorize a poem in French and figure out a way to, oh, you know, casually recite it in his presence.