He's like my Chloe shoes,
Oh, he's cute…
He's like my Marc Jacobs chain,
What's his name?
He's my, he's my, he's my, he's my,
'Nadine, you have to let me do something with your hair; it's so unruly and unkempt…you don't want people to think less of you, do you?'
'Oh Nadine, those shoes will not do, but I suppose one has to take what one can get. I feel so bad for you…'
'Nadine! Are you wearing chartruse eye shadow? In May? What are you thinking…?'
Rhonda was easy enough to handle, because, when I really start to think about it, she's a big softie and an even bigger pushover. She can be influenced to do practically anything if it'll solidify her goal of being noticed. I could get her to watch The Discovery Channel with me if I wanted to, but there are some things that I'd rather just do alone.
Don't get me wrong. Rhonda is a great friend. She's the one who bought me a genuine Austrian crystal belt buckle from Europe last year. It was in the shape of a butterfly, and even though it's bright red (her color, not mine), I appreciated the sentiment. And for a long time, she didn't mind that I was…different from her. My family has never had a lot of money, and I'll be the first to say that my interests are somewhat unusual, but for the most part, she never stressed me out too much about it.
Then came middle school. And suddenly, there were standards. Same hairstyle two days in a row? That's a no-no. Mixing black and brown? An even bigger no-no. And trying to pull off anything turquoise after the onslaught of plum last year was a cardinal sin.
Frankly, there are too many rules, and I'm kind of sick of it. Needless to say, it's time for action.
First, I had to procure some supplies. Expensive supplies. Expensive supplies that I didn't even want, but really, really needed. There was only one person I could turn to, but I knew it would come with a price. And I knew who that price would be.
Once I made my decision, I picked up my cell phone, or the 'heinous brick phone from, like 1984, or something' as Rhonda called it (what would she know about 1984, anyway? She's never read the book, and we weren't even born yet!), and dialed the foreign number.
"Hi. It's me, Nadine. I need something from you. Actually, two somethings. And trust me, you'll be paid handsomely…"
The next morning, I walked into school with a bit of a spring in my step. Is this how Rhonda felt when she bought new shoes? She tried describing the euphoria to me, but I just didn't get it. But, I could feel it now. And it wasn't just the faux fur (I made sure that it was faux…) lined coat that I was wearing, that was probably worth the tuition for my first year in college. It wasn't the only designer handbag that my mother owned, that I swore on my butterfly collection to have returned in mint condition. It wasn't even the Manolo Blahniks that Rhonda bought me for my birthday a while back, that were ridiculously high and leopard print. I hated the shoes when I opened the box after my party died down; they were not me, they were her, and I hated them. But, for the sake of teaching my friend a lesson, I shoved my feet in them and braved the walk to school.
Like I said, Rhonda had a weird fetish with being distinct and being noticed. She'd do bizarre things, like try to go tanning out in the school courtyard during lunch, just for attention. And most people thought it was because she wanted attention from guys, which was only partially true. Rhonda loved attention from boys, but she never did anything with it. She never dated them, ever. She'd string them along for a while, and drop 'em like a cicada sheds it's skin every seventeen years.
What shocked me was that there were guys-one in particular- that Rhonda would have dated no matter what. But, he never asked, because of the imminent rejection. And she never sought him out, because…that's not her. Rhonda never chases.
"Nuh-Aye-Deen!' I heard from behind me. I tried not to sigh so that she could hear me. My name has two syllables. Two. The extra one is not needed.
"Oh." I said, casually. "Hi, Rhonda."
"You look amazing! And you're wearing the Monolos I got you! Sure, they're from, like, two months ago, but wow! Major improvement!" she squealed, eyeing my handbag and coat as she spoke. I was surprised that I got one compliment out of Rhonda; three would be too many for her.
"Thanks." I replied coolly, looking around. Where was he? We were supposed to be here by the time Rhonda arrived, and he's late! I tried not to make it obvious that I was searching the hallway for someone, but if Rhonda could notice the missing sequin on her absolutely authentic Persian jacket that she just had to have for last year's Spring Formal, then she'd notice my anxiety.
"Are you looking for something?" Rhonda asked, coyly. I could tell from her voice that she was trying to get something from me; and for good reason. Why else would I wear these heinous shoes and gaudy coat and syand here like some souped-up Barbie doll waiting for-
"I hope you weren't waiting too long, doll." Doll? Oh, he is laying it on thick. But, you get what you pay for, I suppose. The two of us, made kissing sounds and bumped both cheeks like Rhonda does when she likes a boy just enough to get something out of him. I did this because A) She'd never seen me do so before, and I knew, before even turning around, that her face wore a look of utter shock and B) frankly, I didn't need a boy to pretend to be my boyfriend. I've had boyfriends before. In face, I've had more boyfriends than Rhonda, simply because Rhonda doesn't date. She doesn't see a point to it. That, and she told me that the reason that I date and she doesn't it because, and I quote, "Boys like you because once they get past your bad jeans and your bad shoes and your weird hairline, they find out that you're great despite all that, but since I'm perfect on the outside, they never feel the need to look for anything else in me." End quote.
"Of course not." I answered, trying to smile even though, I was feeling a little dizzy. All these mind games (and maybe the altitude from these stupid heels) had my brain scrambled. I turned back to find her cleverly trying to hide the shock from her face. Finally. Maybe after today, I'd get some peace and our old friend, and my accomplice would get a date.
"Nadine, I had no idea. You and…"
I waved a hand at Rhonda, as if she were a small child. Ugh, how did one person stand being so demeaning all the time? "Oh, don't be silly. We were just walking to class together. See you around!" I said, taking his arm (which was more muscular than I remembered) and twirling away from Rhonda, walking steadily down the hall. I heard nothing from her over the click-clack-click of my gaudy heels on the linoleum, as we walked away.
As soon as the two of us rounded the corner, I tore off the shoes, replaced them with my favorite flip flops, and reminded my latest accessory that when Rhonda finally accepted his proposal to escort her to this year's Spring Formal, that she absolutely hated Baby's Breath sewn into her roses.
I'm not sure why I wrote this. Maybe because I don't get to write about Nadine much. Who knows. It just came to me. And, I was originally going to reveal who Nadine's accomplice was, but I won't. This is my mystery one shot.
P.S. I'm so loving how The Compromise is going these days. It's Only Life is not dead, though. Just a lot of projects to finish up. Thanks for your patience.