I no longer call myself Susy anymore, just Sue, and now I’m fourteen years old. I know that you don’t really like being called Susy. You don’t have a clue why you don’t like it, but I can tell you now it’s overly cutsy. You can hear it, ‘Isn’t Susy so cute’? Doesn’t it make you want to gag? No, probably not. You’re only six. In a few years, you’ll learn how to do ‘the gag’, the eyes rolling back and the ‘you make me sick, I’m going to puke’ expression. Once you learn to do that, no one will call you cute, or Susy.
But the first time my best friend Melanie did it to me was when I was nine. We were home , and Melanie had come over. I gave her one of my dolls, ‘Ginger’ who had pretty gold red hair to have a tea party with my ‘Angela’ doll with the long blond hair which I braided. I had already set up the table with the tea set in our room, the one that Daddy will give you next year for your birthday. Oops, I shouldn’t have told you that. When you get it, just pretend you didn’t know anything about it. So I had the table all set up nice, and Mommy even gave me some cookies to have with our tea, and she made us real tea with milk and sugar.
Melanie dropped Ginger on her head on the floor, and rolled her eyes and put her finger up to her mouth, like she was going to throw up. I thought maybe the cookie she ate had a lump of salt in it. That happend to me once, yeah, I can see your eyes. You remember it, don’t you. Well, that’s a good way to know how to do the ‘gag’ look. Just think of all that salt in your mouth, when you were expecting something sweet and yummy.
Then she said to me, “That’s mental baby stuff.”
I said,“What?” to her, and picked up poor ‘Ginger’ off the floor, and smoothed her hair, like Mommy does with ours. Ginger was crying, and I was going to tell her that Melanie hadn’t meant to hurt her, but Melanie pulled her away from me, and threw her against the wall. I clutched Angela really tight to me. How could my best friend be so mean?
So, do you know what she did then. She was wearing one of her mommy’s old black purses, and she pulled out a little gold case, like my pencil case for school, but prettier. I thought she wanted to do art instead of having a tea party. She pulled out a lipstick and eye makeup.
I asked her, “Where’d you get that?”
She put her nose in the air, and said, “my sister Dorothy”
“She gave you that?” I was afraid of what Dorothy would do if she found out. But Melanie wasn’t afraid. She said, “No, but I’ll tell her Kippy, our cat took it.”
I didn’t really want to play with Dorothy’s makeup, because Dorothy is super mean. Right, you know how she locked you in the bathroom that one time, well that’s nothing compared to what she’s done to me. Oh, you look scared. Well, you can see I’m fourteen, and I’m okay, so don’t worry. Now, she doesn’t even know I’m alive. She doesn’t go to school anymore, and Mommy says she’s supposed to because she didn’t graduate yet.
My doll tea party was ruined and I didn’t like this mean Melanie with her nose in the air, but I didn’t want her to throw me to the side, like I was ‘a mental moron doll’. Oh, you look shocked, my little self. I didn’t mean ‘really’ throw me to the side, like she could pick me up and throw me like she did Ginger. I meant it like a ‘figure of speech’. Mommy says that’s when you say something you don’t really mean because it doesn’t make any sense in real life. It felt like a bad thing in my heart, even though nothing bad had happened.
So, I let her put eye make up and lipstick on me, and then she told me that Dorothy said, if you don’t wear make-up and grown up shoes, the boys won’t want to kiss you.
I said to her, “Gross. I don’t want any yucky boy to slobber all over me.” Yes, you agree with me, I can see you’re making the ‘yucky face’. But now, I want one boy to kiss me. I’m not telling you who he is, even if you tell me, ‘Cross your heart and poke a needle in your eye, you won’t tell’. I’m not saying his name because I know you’ll laugh at me. Even Melanie doesn’t know who he is. I’m crossing my arms like Mommy does, when she means ‘no’.
But then, I just wanted to play with my dolls, and I didn’t want to tell her, but I was afraid boys would try to kiss me, if I had that stuff on my face. Mommy helped me to take off the make-up with some solution at night. She said I was too young and didn’t need the makeup yet, and she told me not to wear it until I was older.
When I went to school, Melanie was wearing the make-up. I couldn’t believe she wanted a boy to kiss her. She gave me the ‘gag look’ and called me a ‘moron baby face’. I feel so sad, because I’m remembering this, just like it happened yesterday. One boy, Jarred, you don’t know him. He’ll move into the house down the street next year, he tried to kiss her, and she gave him ‘the gag’ look and said she wouldn’t kiss him if he was the last boy in the world. I felt sorry for him, but I didn’t want to tell him, in case he wanted to kiss me too, even if I wasn’t wearing any makeup.
So, I started giving him ‘the gag look’ all the time too. I still wanted Melanie to be friends with me, even though I didn’t like her. So, I stole some lipstick from Mommy, and I would put it on, just before I went to school. It was easier than eye makeup to get off. Until one time, the lipstick came out of its container and made a big mess in the pocket of my light green pants and Mommy got really mad. Now I think that green color is gross like puke, but then it reminded me of fresh young green leaves in spring.
Then Melanie told me, if I still wanted to be her friend, I had to take some make-up from Shopper’s Drug Mart. I told her that was stealing, and she told me Dorothy told her, the store makes so much money that they won’t notice, and they expect people to take what they need without paying. I didn’t want to, because I didn’t really want the make up or even the lipstick, but I didn’t want her to treat me like she did Jarred, like I was the worse person in the world, so I helped her to take stuff. Most of it she gave to Dorothy.
Now, I almost can’t remember when I didn’t give everyone who’s not a friend of Melanie’s the ‘gag look’ and put my nose in the air, like this, well for you I don’t really mean it. I don’t mean it for anyone. But now it’s hard for me to be nice, because almost no one expects me to be nice. Mommy says I used to be so good, when I was your age.
Do you know what? Can you keep a secret? Now Jarred is super cute and Melanie wishes he would kiss her, he doesn’t want to, and she keeps trying to get his attention but he just ignores her. One of his friends said she was a ‘slut’, and Jarred pushed him. I wish he would look at me, I know I wasn’t going to tell you, and I don’t think you’d understand, but I like him too, and now I wish he’d want to kiss me, but I don’t think I’m ready to be kissed, even by Jarred.
I’m writing to you, because I hope that you won’t become mean like I did. Jarred has a little sister just like you, and he is very protective of her. I’m sure he wouldn’t let someone like Melanie give her the ‘gag look’ and push her to do things she doesn’t want to do.
So today, is the first time I didn’t go and steal things for Melanie, and she called me a lot of swear words and gave me the ‘gag look’ and put her nose in the air. I didn’t care, and even if Jarred wants to kiss me tomorrow, which probably won’t happen, I’m not going to until I’m ready.
Your older fourteen year old self