Crazy Like You
“Please don’t make me cry,
please don’t make me cry.
I’m just like you,
I know you know.
I’m just like you,
So leave me alone” - Telescope Eyes, Eisley
* * *
Gloria Gomez sat atop one of the barstools in the kitchen, glowering at her mother. It was a Thursday morning in May, the afternoon had nearly arrived, and it was gorgeous outside. Gloria’s glowering quickly ceased as she fixed her face into a more pouty, saddened look.
“You can pout as much as you want, but you are not going.”, Mrs. Gomez stated firmly, looking up from her grocery bags. Registering the firmness in her mothers voice, Gloria looked up at her mother with and understanding expression, thinking it best not to behave immaturely and argue. Mrs. Gomez’s expression softened as well, now slightly sympathetic.
“Gloria, bebé, you know I would like to let you go out with your little friends - Dios knows my mother held me back from a lot of things when I was your age - but this is your abuela. My mother. It’s her 60th, sweetie, and I think she’d like to see you there tomorrow.”
Gloria let her shoulders drop, and nodded up at her mother, who gave her a warm smile and kissed her head. The young girl scooted off her stool and shuffled towards the back door, before her mother could ask her to help unload the groceries.
“Gloria, por favor, don’t slide your feet across my floor…”
Once outside Gloria was immediately greeted by the pleasant feel of the warm sun against her skin. Maybe she could enjoy this day after all. The barely-teenaged girl wandered over to the lone swing hanging from the tree in the spacious backyard. This tree was one of the reasons Gloria had wanted her mother to buy the house, it was perfect for reading under, climbing, swinging from…
As she squeezed herself onto the wooden plank Gloria realized that she was now only slightly too large to be sitting on it. But right now, she could care less. Leaning to her left side, Gloria managed to wriggle her sidekick free from her right jean pocket, giving her some extra room on the swing. She checked her inbox. 3 new messages. Likely from Persia, Annabeth, and Rasika, desperate to know if she would be attending their out-of-town shopping weekend. Quickly deciding to reply later, she wiggled out of the swing. It was too beautiful a day to not go to the corner store and purchase and slushie, or something equally brain-freeze inducing.
While in the process of jamming her sidekick back into her pocket, Gloria felt someone’s eyes on her.
The girl in question spun on her heel to face Hanna, a girl Gloria’s age from up the street.
“Hi Hanna!”, Gloria exclaimed cheerfully, putting on a fake smile. Gloria was only slightly happy to see her. In truth, Hanna was very annoying. When she wasn’t showering Gloria with compliments, and the occasional gift, she was following her like a new puppy. Compliments and gifts were more than nice, but this girl took it too far. Each time Gloria received a gift it was always “Oh, you really shouldn’t have.“ Because that was exactly how Gloria felt. It was lovely to admired and nearly worshiped, but it would be even more lovely if the geeky, skinny girl would just grow up and become her own person. It was like Hanna was in love with the taller, tanner, girl.
And to make matters worse, Mr. And Mrs. Gomez always forced her to call Hanna, invite her to her parties, have her over for dinner, which was slightly understandable. Hanna was a nice girl. But, Dios, she was embarrassing. Whenever Gloria had a get-together, and Annabeth or Persia or whoever saw her give an invitation to Hanna, they gave a look like she was a mental patient, and they felt sorry for her. Then Hanna would spend the entire night butting in the conversation with painfully un-funny statements, and Gloria had no choice but to force a laugh for the poor girl’s ego.
It wasn’t even as if Gloria was a mean person. She had nerdy acquaintances. She would never go out of her way to be rude to anyone. Gloria didn’t dislike the girl because she was skinny, wore glasses, and was a brace face, but because she was such an immature dork. She had no fashion sense of her own whatsoever, and was a total poser. She tried her very best to copy Gloria and whatever her friends were wearing, but at the same time tweaking her outfits to make it seem as though she weren’t when she so obviously was. Gloria wished the little style-cramping nuisance would just go somewhere.
“Soooo….it’s a nice day huh?” Hanna began, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
“So, um, Gloria, was just- I - was just wondering if you wanted to go get a slushie with me? Because, heh, slushies make a rummy in my tummy!”
Why, just WHY would she say that? Was she trying to be so utterly lame?
“Oh…I’m sorry Hanna. It’s just, I’m going on a trip with my friends tomorrow, and I just remembered I have to get ready.”
The words came naturally to Gloria, as it was routine for her to spout lies at Hanna to get out of being seen with her, or being in her presence at all.
“Oh, okay! So when will you be back?” Hanna inquired, using that casual tone of voice people used when they tried to pretend as though they weren’t disappointed about something. Gloria hated that tone of voice.
“Hanna…” Gloria rolled her eyes. She just knew the girl on the other side of the fence was giving her a confused look about now. Gloria had almost never lost her cool with Hanna. She couldn’t, or else her parents would lose their cool with her.
“Look, Hanna, you are a really nice girl, but I think we should stop hanging out.” Not like we ever did, anyway. But I’m tired of dodging this dork.
“We just really don’t have much in common. We are two very different people, and we just….you should just find some new friends. People you can relate to. Because, I’m not trying to be rude, but I never really liked you much. The gifts and all we nice, yes, but just leave me alone.” Gloria finally met Hanna’s eyes, having previously been conversating with the sky. To her surprise, Hanna didn’t look hurt. It was more like angry.
“Why?” She asked in a low, calm voice.
“I just SAID why.” Gloria answered, now nearly losing her cool.
“I thought we were friends.” Hanna snapped. Gloria had not anticipated the anger from Hanna.
“Well, I guess you thought wrong.” Gloria replied, in a bitterly sweet voice. “And you can run on home and tell your parents the ‘nice Gomez girl was mean to you’, but I assure you, it won’t bother me a bit! You were crazy, just loco to think I ever wanted to be friends with you! Dios, you’d think you would have gotten the hint by now! It’s been what? 5 years of this? Just leave me alone already!”
There was a split second in which Gloria considered turning on her heel and storming back into the house, but decided to stay and see Hanna’s reaction.
Gloria cocked an eyebrow.
“If I’m crazy, then you’re crazy too. We’re just like each other you know.
“Yes, because you ALWAYS copy me-”
“No. We both just want to be accepted, you know? Isn’t that what you want?! For your friends to like you?!”
“My friends do like me, even though I’m forced against my will to spend time with you.”
“And do they tease you about it? Do they talk about me behind my back?”
“….Yes. And you know what? I don’t care anymore.”
“Fine! That’s okay! When you…you’ll see!”
“I’ll see WHAT?”
Hanna just really didn’t understand. What Gloria was doing was right. All that she had said had been true. It was time for them to finally go their separate ways.
Gloria looked at the girl stumbling down the street, she wasn’t headed toward her house.