I've always dreamed of being popular in school, especially in high school. Being situated at this school and upgrading my friend circle throughout the end of junior high was pretty wicked. Plus my sister already graduated and I did not have anyone to have lunch with once she left. She was two years older than me and she wasn't into the social world. Since then, I have taken credit for my popularity after my breakup with George; the loser drummer boy who was in a band whose beats were similar to Blink-182. Best of all, my sense of style began to change thanks to Sarah Wills. She was the most beautiful brunette in our school and her $150 manicure couldn't agree more. Her parents owned ten to fifteen properties across the states which four of them were vacation homes. One situated in Vail, New York City, Miami, and Malibu. She also admitted my looks were a knockout if I could loosen the glasses and my cleavage deserved to be shown in outfits more since her purpose was to have an attractive crowd to remain exclusive. I can't blame her. Overall, she sat next to me in Algebra II and World History Class and decided to sit next to me ever since I got introduced by our Algebra II teacher the very first day of being a Junior. Apparently, I gave an attitude to one of the cheerleaders interrupting my introduction and she clearly loved it. Clearly, I don't recall the lines I've used but she made the impossible possible by seating next to me in those two classes. As I gain popularity with the help of Sarah, I end up signing up for the cheerleading squad but something in me stopped me from joining as I find the cheerleaders being unwelcoming and obnoxious, so I end up leaving the tryouts early. While I walk out from school that afternoon, I see my ex, George, walking hand in hand with his new girlfriend, who replaced me. Her name was Allison and she was in the Art Club. Their club meetings were after school and coincidentally we all came out at the same time. Of course. I immediately yanked my cellphone out of my purse and pretended I was on the phone. Obviously, everyone reading this would do the same out of embarrassment.
"Sarah? Sarah? Can you hear me?" I said.
“Could you please pick me up from school?—And aren't you throwing a party at your house tonight?" I shout louder as I curl my ponytail.
I slowly turn around thinking I was already ten miles away from them but I noticed they weren't there anymore. Fortunately, my anxiety levels calmed down and I was casually moving on. While I'm walking towards the corner--where my mother picks me up from—I think to myself how the hell am I going to ask this woman to let me go to Sarah's house party tonight without making a scene. I had to go. It’s an anticipated back-to-school event that Sarah hosts religiously every year and I was invited for the first time, ever. MySpace will shower every detail of each party she had thrown in the news feed the next day like there was no tomorrow. I used to get pretty frustrated for not attending or be part of the "clique." It all sounds so shallow but this was my time to shine and fit into where I wanted to be.
My arrival gets here and I carefully get inside the car as I greet my mother with the best spirits and asking her to let me go to Sarah’s tonight.
“Absolutely not,” she calmly replies.
My nerve levels go up as my plan vanishes. “Oh my God. Don’t you want your daughter to have a normal high school experience?!—Haven’t you ever heard of bullying, mom?”
“If you raise your voice at me, you will not be allowed to go anywhere. End of discussion,” she says.
“OK—What can I do for you to let me go?” I suggest.
“I’ll think about it once we get to the house. Plus, I’m sure you have homework to do,” she says.
“Mom, it’s Friday. I never do my homework on Fridays. You know that,” I say.
My mother doesn’t speak to me the whole ride home and turns up the volume on her radio to avoid arguing with me. Which would drive me insane but I kept my calm and pulled my seat back to lie down until we get home. The ride was a good 30 minutes but it felt like an hour since we weren’t speaking to each other.
“Are you hungry?” She gently asks.
“Sarah will have food at her party tonight and I’m looking forward to that, instead,” I say.
“Are you hungry now? Because I’m about to pick up some groceries at Publix.”
“No. Thanks,” I say aggravated.
“I can drop you off at home if you don’t want to go to—”
“Yeah, I’d rather that,” I say.
My sister always suggested cleaning the house spontaneously in a matter of allowance. She said it always worked out for her so I took her advice. As I get home, I start cleaning desperately from picking up laundry, clutter, doing the dishes, having the beds done, you name it. An hour passes by and I was already done with the house chores. The place was spotless and decided to lit some vanilla candles to smooth the atmosphere a bit. Why not right?.
I hear my mom talking on the phone outside our front door as she’s trying to get her keys from inside her purse. I reach the door to unlock it as she struggles to lift the load of grocery bags.
“Thanks, honey.” She whispers to me while resting her phone on her ear. She happens to speak with one of her girlfriends, Viviane, as I recall her authentic loud voice from my mom’s cellphone. She is a trip.
“Yes, Viviane. I have all the sweaters done for her. Juliette wanted a full size sweater so it took longer than I thought!—I can pass by after dinner with Maria. We just got home from school. How does that sound? OK—great. Yes! Yes. I’ll call you in a bit. You, too! Bye.”
“We’re going to Viviane’s house after?” I ask disappointed.
“Yes! Wouldn’t you want to? It’s been a long time since you haven’t seen Juliette. You two were so close!” She says.
She quickly sees around the house being spotlessly clean and hugs me desperately.
“Wow! How much do I owe you?! The place smells and looks impeccable, babe!” She says excited.
"Nothing. Just for you to let me go to...—" Ring! Ring!
“One second. Hold that thought.” She answers her phone abruptly.
My anger levels up and my hopes down as I walk depressively to my room and slam myself face down my bed. After all, I was in serious exhaustion after all that unnecessary cleaning. [Tsk tsk]. I bundled up under my sheets and place my headphones in to avoid my mom from knocking on the door and me not noticing. I end up falling asleep and I wake up to a million texts from Sarah and her friends. The texts include images from the party and begging me to come by already.
I ignore their texts and turn my phone on silent since I knew I couldn’t go.
I get up to get some water and I look over to see if my mom had gone out to Viviane’s but I hear her tv is on. As I walk over, I slightly open her door to find out she was already passed out while the Sex and the City series were on. She loves those series. Although, I have woken up in the middle of the night petrified to shut her tv off with the volume is all the way up while Samantha is screaming at the top of her lungs having sex. And here I am thinking my mom could be having sex instead. Gross! Gross! Gross!
Minutes later, I check my phone again to find 20 missed calls, 80 unread text messages, and 10 voicemails from Sarah, Jessica, and Karen.
I go on and take a quick shower and I hear my sister knocking on the bathroom door to ask if I was in.
“Hello?! I am taking a shower here!” I shout.
“Hey I just wanted to let you know Julian is here. So don’t come out naked. Thanks!” she says giggling.
Julian is my sister’s boyfriend. He’s always quiet and keeps it to himself. And he has a car...?
[Oh my God!] I could ask them to take me to the party! [Bingo].
I quickly get out of the shower and I insist my sister to join me in my bedroom for a couple of minutes while I quickly blow dry my hair. I didn’t know how to ask her to take me to the party since she was so overprotective like mom. She was only two years older than me, for Christ’s sake.
“Okay I can’t really hear you if you’re blowing your hair at the same time—What?!” She shouts.
I turn off the blow drier and ask her one more time.
"Would you take me to this house party tonight? It is my opportunity to become popular. Please, sister. I'll do anything," I say.
"Where's the party located? Does mom know?" She asks.
"No? Well, yeah. But she didn't want to take me.
"She doesn't want to take you or she doesn't let you go?" She asks.
"Mel. Please. I am begging you here."
"Ok, fine. I'll take you but under two conditions. I'm picking you up before 3 a.m. and you get to do my chores all this month."
"Done," I quickly say.
"Ok, hurry up you don't want to go too late," she says.
"I love you!"
I quickly stumble upon my clothes being all over the floor and get my phone to text Sarah and her friends.
[It's on. I'll be on my way there in 10! :) :) :)]
Oh. My. God. That was so easy. I can't believe I am going to a house party for the first time all by myself. My stomach growls of hunger and the thought of going out made me sick to my stomach so I couldn't really eat. Considering my inner starvation for popularity, my stomach did choke up to realize why haven't I eaten anything before I left the house. The thought of that didn't keep me calm but I assumed the party had some food, anyway.
"Ok, don't do anything stupid, please. Please text me every minute and do not go anywhere from here, you understand?" My sister mentoring me as I walk out of the car.
"Understood. Bye, sister! Bye Julian," I say waving at them. "I'll call you once it's over!"
"No! I will be here outside again at 2 AM!" She yells out the car.
"Shhh! Ok, don't embarrass me. Ok! Buh-bye now!
Finally, they leave and I see some groups scattered across the front of the house and minding their own business while fog smoke and lights disperse from the back patio and loud hip-hop music blasting from a DJ Booth. I start panicking since I don't really know anyone here, yet.
"She's here, Sarah! Maria, come in! We've been expecting you! Chelsea says.
"Oh-Em-Gee! Maria what took you so long? I'm already trashed! Here, here--take some shots to reach me!" Sarah yells from the other side of the kitchen island.
"Chris! pour those shots for Maria. She just got here!" Chelsea says.
"No! no. It's fine. I've had my little pre-game at home," I say.
"Nonsense! This is my party and you need to take those shots right now before I throw you out of here!" Sarah jokes.
Chris. A swole football team player isn't wearing a shirt and has some blue dye paint on his chest supporting the school team. He grabs my hand and takes me to the bar which held all the shots existed.
"This one is for you, Maria. You are welcome to have more. My name is Chris. I don't think we've met before. Chris says.
"Nope. We haven't," I say.
I see Chris getting up on top of the kitchen island and starts shouting my name while introducing me in front of fifty people present in the kitchen.
"Ladies and gents, this is Maria! and she is a newcomer. Please clap your hands as she will be introduced to the Keg Machine Contest!" Chris shouts.
No. No. No. No. No. No. This isn't happening. I thought this will be fun.
"Get up here, Maria! They're all counting on you!" Sarah yells.
"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, ONE!!!" The crowd shouts louder.
I immediately get up to the Keg and I have Chris and another classmate grab my legs and lift them up in the air as if I weight as a feather and I quickly scream of laughter.
"What do I do?!?!" I scream.
"CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!" Everyone starts shouting.
I grab a hose which connects to the keg and I start chugging the terrible beer for a good 10 seconds and to think I'll never do that again.
After I embarrass myself in front of everyone, I have several classmates come up to me introducing themselves and asking where was I from since I had an accent and I didn't look anything like I look like in school.
"Hey! You're Maria, right? My name is Jessica and this is my girl, Stephanie. We are Sophomores and Sarah told us all about you earlier. You are so pretty!" A sweet Sophomore girl introduced herself as to know she hangs out with older crowds, only. Good for her.
"Thank you! Nice meeting you, too! How do you guys know Sarah?" I ask.
"Our parents are friends, actually. And we're also neighbors," Jessica says.
"Hey, have you had your breasts done? I want to get mine done before the summer starts! But my mom suggests after graduation once I'm eighteen and that's next year! Yours are so perky and full!" Stephanie replied.
"Thanks? But no. I didn't," I say awkwardly.
Having their breasts done?!? I was shocked. Could that be possible? Seventeen-year-olds waited desperately to be eighteen so they can have their breasts done since they were turning into "legal adults" and I thought that was insanely out of control from these young crowds. I'd never think to get my breasts done even if they were small. Especially at seventeen. But hey, when there's money loitering around in households, I'm sure that was no surprise to rich parents, nowadays.
Sarah's party was a success and as I hoped, I gained a lot of attention. My sister picked me up at exactly 2 AM and thankfully I wasn't drunk. She was tired and yawning the entire ride home and she also mentioned she was glad I had a good time considering her being overprotective.
As we get closer to home, my sister turns around and locks eyes to me to tell me something. "Mom is awake by the way and she's expecting to have a talk with you once we get home," my sister says disappointedly.
"Aww, that's just great," I say.
We get home and my mother is sitting on the living room sofa waiting for me to explain the urge of attending Sarah's party when she hasn't even met her or her parents in the first place.
"Had fun, young lady?" my mom says.
I sit down next to her and my mom tells my sister and Julian to give us some privacy.
"Listen, mom. I really wanted to attend and they were all expecting me to go. This is my first time feeling wanted from peers and I want to be popular," I say.
"Maria, school isn't about being popular. School is about getting good grades and passing it. That's all I care about. I wasn't popular at my school, either," she says.
"I am not you, mom. Plus, I am passing my grades and attending school, after all," I say.
"You are not old enough to be outside of the house at 2:30 a.m. Second, you are not allowed to contain alcohol if you are not twenty-one!" she says angrily. "Your sister isn't even twenty-one, yet!"
"Do you understand this isn't a game. I am here to protect you two without making terrible mistakes. I was your age once and I married your father at eighteen. I didn't have the fun I wanted to have because I was already married," she says.
"But I am not marrying anybody! Nor I want to. I want to have a decent normal teenage life as everybody else has theirs here! I know you are protecting me but you are not helping this situation by keeping me grounded here and not allowing me to go out with my friends. I am not talking about partying or else, I am talking about going to the movies, or ice skating, maybe? for example." I say.
My mom sighs and studies me as I calmed down after shouting my reasons.
"You can hang out with your friends after I meet them personally and their parents. I simply don't want you socializing with kids that do drugs or drink. Those kids don't end up on the right path." She says.
"I'm going to bed. I need some rest after this," I say.
My night ended and I began to think about what my mother said. She needs to be more relevant to my reasonings and understand where I am coming from. She is right as a mother to be worried and to keep me grounded but after all, we are living in another era and her sustaining to not socialize or be out there does not work and makes me want to explore even more to my limits. As far as, raising your child to become someone they don't want you to be or feel like being, you can't force them to be this type of way because they will find a way to be against that and prove you wrong in the end.