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Faye, Part I
I’ve had the same best friend for nine years, almost ten. Needless to say, I know most everything about her. Needless to say, she knows most everything about me. Needless to say, we bug the crap out of each other.
This particular side-effect to our long-term friendship is most definitely exacerbated by the fact that we are complete and total opposites. In fourth grade- when we first met, me being eight years old, her being nine- we were pretty close to being Siamese twins. Same style, same thoughts, same beliefs. But now, nine years later, as seniors,- me being seventeen, her being eighteen- we couldn’t be more different.
Everything about her is pretty close to extraordinary. Faye Beckett- she even has a cool name (well, I think so). She’s the darkest hippy you ever did meet, with an other-worldy sense of style that only she could pull off. There’s long, flowing skirts and closely-fitted band tees, matched with a variety of chunky bracelets and long, beaded necklaces with the same old pair of beat-up black high-tops that she‘s owned since 8th grade, and a rusty, silver ring inscribed with some sort of Elvish (yeah, she has a ring inscribed with a fictional language- a Lord of the Rings fictional language, to be exact.). And, of course, the friendship bracelet I gave her at the end of fourth grade, when they were still ‘in,’ is forever present, tied loosely on her arm half-way between her wrist and her elbow. And the hair- the hair I could go on about. It’s a beautiful, natural, red-brown that shines in the sunlight and tumbles down to her waist in seemingly never-ending curls. There’s usually one of those thin, hippy headbands somewhere across her forehead, also, somehow adding to the effect.
And, well, she is gorgeous. Somewhere she hit the genetic jackpot, though her biological parents haven’t been seen in years. At 5’5, she’s a perfect height- shorter than most guys we know by quite a few inches, and therefore at perfect liberty to wear heels whenever she likes, though she rarely does, a fact which frustrates me since she possesses the sense of balance to safely wear them, and I do not. She’s got big, hazel eyes and long, thick eyelashes, high, jutting cheekbones, and a figure that stops traffic. Even though I’m not into her that way, it’s hard not to notice.
She gets all the guys, with her special blend of innocence and perfectly timed, slightly hidden dirty jokes, and her love of public affection but her tendency to appear extremely mysterious (I’m convinced it’s the way she phrases her sentences- she never does just say what she means to strangers.). Not that I’m jealous or anything.
Next to her, I am… well, I’m really not much. I fall short in most cases. Faye Beckett vs. Anna Smith. That could sum it up… And it really is hard to get any attention next to her, especially when you’re my size. My size, or lack thereof, is probably what gets the most attention directed at me. Standing 4’11 and weighing in at exactly 95 pounds, I sort of blend in next to Faye. I stick to mostly blue skinny jeans and black tee shirts, and having black hair, and boring green eyes, I don’t exactly draw the eyes towards me. I am also so shy it’s a disability, having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and OCD at the age of thirteen.
You might think I’m totally hung up on this, comparing Faye to myself when it obviously isn’t fair, and you’d be right. But it’s hard not to be so totally hung up on it when it’s all around me. My mother once said- jokingly, of course- that I was more a part of Faye than my own person, and she is right in most respects. That’s how people usually think of us. It’s the way it is at work- we both work at a horse rescue farm, 40 minutes away from our small-town Maryland life, a place where it should be different, but it’s not-, it’s the way it is at school, it’s the way it is in both our houses. There’s Faye Beckett, and her best friend, Anna. It’s the way it is right now.
We’re sitting on Faye’s bed- it’s quite possibly bigger than a king, easily accommodating all five girls currently stretched out on it. It’s past midnight, but the girls Faye invited over earlier for a ‘quick bite to eat’ have yet to leave. I wonder if they’re planning to spend the night. Faye- who I sense is less than fond of them- is taking it all in stride. She is an impeccable hostess, sporting flawless manners and a knack for breaking the ice.
I honestly can’t tell the three of them apart. They have the same fake-blonde hair, fake-blonde tans, and practically the same outfits- different colors, same slutty concept behind it. Rachel, Rachel, and Rebecca are their names. I have no idea where Faye knows them from- I’m pretty sure they’re on the cheerleading team at our high school, a crowd that Faye usually avoids. The drama, she says, gives her a headache.
The three of them claim the title of best friends, though when Rachel #1 had a second piece of pizza, Rebecca leaned in close to me and whispered, “See, isn’t she just the biggest pig? That’s why she’s a size 5 and me and Rachel are a size 2.” She looks me up and down appreciatively- I’m wearing a tank top and short shorts as pajamas, there’s not much for me to hide behind, but I do my best. “I mean, why can’t she be more like you? Geeze, Annie, you’re skinny, you’re so lucky.” ‘Yeah, I also have no boobs, and FYI, a size 5 is not fat’ is what I want to tell her, but I just mutter, “Anna, it’s Anna,” under my breath. She doesn’t hear. She goes back to adoring Rachel #1’s high, high heels, and inquiring whether she can please, please borrow them.
I zone out for a little bit and come back down to earth when I feel Faye’s foot nudging my knee. She currently has all three of them roaring with laughter, rolling around on her bed as they clutch their stomachs, hooting. As far as I can tell, Faye has shown them a picture of a tattoo she hopes to get when she moves out.
They think she’s kidding. She’s not.
Over their heads, Faye’s eyes meet mine and she rolls her eyes, pretending to slit her throat with her finger. I giggle slightly. The girl who I’m pretty sure is Rachel #2 stares at me pointedly. I figure she must have a few brain cells if she can tell that my laughing has something to do with her. The three of them sit up again, and immediately change the subject. They want to know who Faye is dating. I cover my mouth with my hand to stifle my laughter, and Faye shoots me a glare, then her eyes switch, staring at her bedroom door very pointedly, and I know what she wants.
I slide off the bed carefully and head down the corridor to her living room. Her mom, Lisa, is sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee watching late-night television. I plop down on the sofa next to her, resting my head on her shoulder, looking up at her imploringly. She’s more of a mom to me than my own is. She looks down at me only briefly before patting me quickly on the top of my head, and then looking back at the TV screen. I don’t move and then she sighs. “You need me to go and be an excuse to get the blonde triplets out of the house?” she questions, and I nod against her shoulder. I love Faye’s mom. She sighs again, a heavy, exaggerated sigh, and hands me her coffee before getting up and heading towards Faye’s room. I stay where I am, but grab the remote off the coffee table and switch the channel to Animal Planet, turning the volume way down low.
I can hear Lisa’s voice from where I am. “Oh,” she says- I can hear the fake surprise in her voice. “You girls are still here?” I hear a few sheepish, “Yeahs…” come from the triplets. “Well, I don’t mean to be rude,” Lisa says, “but it is a little after midnight, and I’m afraid Faye’s got work early in the morning. It’s really not a good time for you to spend the night.”
“But isn’t Annie spending the night?” one of them inquires.
“Anna works with Faye, which is why she’s spending the night,” Lisa says coolly, “they carpool.”
“Fine, we’ll leave,” one of them says, and I hear the bed groan- Faye inherited it from her great-grandmother or something like that- and the three of them shuffle their way down the hallway, followed closely by Faye and her mother. They grab their bags from the floor by the doorway, and mutter a quick thanks, before disappearing out the door. We’re silent until we hear their car start and the crunching of the gravel under the tires as they pull out of the driveway.
Then Faye locks the door behind them, and leans against it, dramatically. She puts her hand on her forehead. “Thank God,” she drags out, “they’re finally gone.” I laugh and echo that remark. Lisa smiles wryly. “So then I shouldn’t expect a return visit from them, I suppose?” she inquires.
“No,” Faye answers, “Not for another century, at least.” Then she looks at me, “Off to sleep now, hm? We’re training Rian in the morning.” I nod and trail down after her into her bedroom. Rian is a horse accepted in the rescue center the previous week- he’s been heavily abused, he had an owner who used to beat him until the point of exhaustion on the trail, and during ‘suspicious circumstances’ he somehow managed to get his two back legs tangled up pretty badly in some barbed wire. They were cut practically down to the bone, and were a bloody mess. Nobody would be riding him for a while- but we wanted to work on his ground behavior. He had a tendency of lunging at random strangers and trying to attack them. Nobody could blame him, but it was a behavior we wanted to reverse if he had any chance of finding a good home. Maria- the woman who runs the rescue center- has assigned Rian to me and Faye. Rian, somehow, has taken to me.
When we reach her bedroom Faye strips off her clothes and changes into a giant tee shirt shamelessly, it’s an action that’s embarrassed me since fourth grade, though now I’m kind of used to it. Her bed is positioned right by her window- a huge floor-to-ceiling thing- and we both have an excellent view of the stars tonight once the lights are off. Faye lives in the middle of nowhere, and her bedroom is on the second floor, she doesn’t shut her blinds at night.
I watch as her eyes lock in on the first star she sees as she looks out the window, and then she proceeds with the familiar chant:
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
And this is something that has always bothered me, because when it comes down to it, this is more than just a cute little ritual to Faye. I did forget to mention that the biggest, most important difference between me and Faye is that Faye believes in magic. I don’t.