she asked if she could sit next to me. my mouth filled with beef jerky, i nodded and kept reading from my kindle. within the half hour, she told me she was nervous about traveling alone. even though her mother took her to the train station in connecticut and her father was picking her up in vermont. i said that i would make sure she was fine and to not worry about the trip.
she was delighted when i told her my name, saying we both had names of celebrities "sorta." she said she was going to wear a fancy dress and ask justin bieber's publicist if he would take her to her 8th grade dance in may. it doesn't hurt to ask. she normally shops at hot topic but she is wearing american eagle today. most girls wear abercrombie but she doesn't like the smell of the store. she went to her first concert last month with her friend. they saw ke$ha. she taught herself guitar and has her own youtube channel. she loves lip gloss. she got a cell phone for her 14th birthday, but her mother took it away after a few months after she used too many minutes. she doesn't really miss it. she described the problems she was having with her friends. her friends told her she was annoying and were constantly stabbing her in the back. she wanted to give them gifts and write letters to win them back. when i told her that her friends sounded annoying, she defended them. her older sister used to stand up for her, but she is now in high school. she also has a six-month old brother who is a little flirt. she told me that girls physically fight with each other all the time at her (middle) school. she dated a boy for two months and he broke up with her on her facebook wall. her general motto is that "things could always be worse." she is going to try out for the talent show this year and go out for cheerleading in grade 9. she tapped me on the shoulder to ask if i was okay when i was quietly listening to my ipod. she tapped me on the shoulder to show me pictures of her old haircut. she got her nose pierced this summer in burlington. she reads seventeen like it's the bible. she wants to go to cosmetology school or be a singer. she said to remember her because she will be famous one day, repeating and spelling out the letters of her last name.
i wasn't expecting a seat-mate like gwendolyn and i'm still not sure how i feel about her. i was planning to teach myself to crochet and i had great book for the 8-hour train ride up to burlington. at first i felt lucky to sit with her. she was 14 and it's been a while since i've had a conversation with someone that young. a different point of view. despite being tiger beat incarnate (which she preferred over the seventeen she was reading), she was very levelheaded. she was introspective and at many points, she reminded me of myself at that age. giving her advice felt especially rewarding, though i'm not sure how much she actually considered any of it. after a while, i was trying to keep my interactions with her as short as possible (like i said, i had a great book), but she didn't quite take the hint. un/relatable.
after our (many, many) hours together, she hugged me and said how great it was to meet me. and it was great to meet her. or interesting, rather. i realized that it has only been ten years since i was her age and my, how things change! even to think of the past five, four, three years.
i bought a new diary today. i hadn't completely filled up the last volume, but the timing for a new book felt right. i had the last one since june. wild amounts of life has happened since and it just seemed like i needed a fresh start. blank pages, life cycles.