“It’s like trying on hats, y’know? Like, you might find a good one that fits when you’re a kid, but your head’s still growing and you might grow out of it. And then when you’re an adult you don’t even bother about trying to squeeze on hats that look too small because you know it’s never going to fit.”
That’s Jake, always with the metaphors. Self-elected sage of the eleventh grade. How would he know about what you do and don’t bother with when you’re an adult? Besides, he’s never even had a girlfriend.
“Boloney,” I say, “that doesn’t even make sense. Don’t you think that relationships are a little more complex than hats? I mean like, if you find a hat that’s way awesome and it doesn’t quite fit, you’re just gonna do the adult thing and make it fit. Like what about a tailor or something, ever think of that?”
“What, like Dr. Phil? You think you’re gonna find a tailor to come Dr. Phil your relationship for you?”
“Yeah whatever, quit smirking. People do it all the time, it’s called marriage counseling. Your head gets fat from a tumor or something and your hat doesn’t fit all the way and then you go to marriage counseling and a tailor can stretch it out so it stays on your head. Easy.”
“Orrr,” he’s still smirking, “just make sure your hat fits the right way, with a little bit of wiggle room. And an adjustable strap.” Now he’s making that “Booosh, mind blown” gesture with his hands and I just roll my eyes and start angrily chewing my mashed potatoes, fuming.
I don’t really remember what even started this tangent. But I refuse to let Jake be right about this hat business because of what that would mean about a future I don’t want to think about. There’s never any loopholes with Jake- you just do things the way they’re supposed to be done and if you mess up then you’re out of luck. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope.
“Okay, smarty-pants,” I announce suddenly, “so tell me, how exactly should one go about making sure that their hat is the perfect fit, hmm?”
He furrows his eyebrows and takes a couple of slow swigs of his Yoo-Hoo, then finally says simply, “I don’t know. I haven’t even had a girlfriend. Maybe that’s why.”
I’m about to do the in-your-face thing with the snap when he cuts in before I get a chance:
“But I don’t really think experience has a whole lot to do with it. I think you just have to spend enough time looking in the dressing-room mirror first.”
I’m actually pretty impressed by that answer, but then the bell rings and we just give each other the “Did we really just spend our whole lunch talking about this?” look. With a shrug and a half-way salute we head separate ways back to class.
As I’m yanking a book out of my locker I feel a smack on my shoulder and there’s Jake whizzing by down the hall, a crazed, mischievous look on his face. He shouts back to me:
“Or just keep the receipt and return it!”