300 WORDS: My Number
Ian turned 13 today.
I remember being 13.
I remember my mother forcing me to keep my unruly hair pulled into pigtails, my teeth half-way
through the purgatory of braces, my ears freshly pierced. Catholic school uniforms,
meant to level the playing field, doing no such thing.
I remember falling in love with a boy named Scott. I remember sneaking out of Granny’s apartment
at midnight to meet him in the stairwell and spend the next two hours kissing and talking,
but mostly kissing. I remember Scott introducing me to Supertramp and David Bowie.
I still listen to them both.
I remember being told that when you fall in love at 13 it’s not really love. I remember thinking
that was bullshit. It pleases me now, at 50, to know I was right.
I remember trying out for cheerleading. I remember that my number was “7.”
I still have that number, the one that was pinned to my shorts, in case I ever forget my number, or
forget trying out for cheerleading.
I remember thinking I would probably need to be a writer when I grew up. That I would have no choice.
I remember at 13, being simultaneously sad, happy, resentful and ridiculous. I remember having no
idea of who I was or was supposed to be, but always suspecting that I would be fine, no matter what.
I remember realizing that I couldn’t trust my parents, that they didn’t have my back. I remember
thinking, at 13, that I couldn’t wait to be 18. To be a grown-up.
13 was sweet, and difficult; it was exciting and confusing. It lasted forever, and it was over in a heartbeat.
Ian is 13 and I have his back, and I think he knows that. But his 13 is his 13….
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I was born in Oswego, NY,
"I had always wanted to be a writer, but was impeded by the belief that to be a writer one had to be extraordinary, and I knew I wasn't. By the time I was ready to give up my academic career I had realized that while books are extraordinary, writers themselves are no more or less special than anyone else." The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield