How The Most Perfect Girls Became A Brood Of Bitches



13 Going on 30

It is D’s birthday. Her friends from high school are coming. S is out of town again, so I get to crash in her room, which I ceremoniously dub “The Chateau”. On the bus for our private ghost tour N, who is a coach, proposes we play an ice breaker to remember each other’s names. We each come up with alliterative adjectives to make nicknames for ourselves. When it’s O’s turn, I yell out “ORGASMIC” from the back of the bus, before she has a chance to answer. This is her first impression of me. Loud, obnoxious, and well on my way to being drunk.

Later the same night, we sit around D’s kitchen table eating pizza and talking about murder. This is N and O’s second impression of me. Sober and solemn and serious. We memorialize the night later down the road, attributing the foundation of our friendship to these two things; pizza and murder.

S and D come to my neighborhood’s wine walk. We’ve known each other since freshman year of college, but I’m still learning how to open up to people, and I preface what I want to tell them with a lot of self-deprecating comments, because I am nervous, but also need to say it out-loud to stop the thought from just ricocheting around in my head, so it all comes spilling out. They laugh, not phased a bit, hug me, and we spend the entire day drinking wine. When they finally leave, I am laying face down on the carpet, because it’s comfortable. Because I am comfortable with them.

D tells me she wants O and I to be friends, because she’s getting married and moving away. Because she says we have a lot in common. Because she wants someone there for her best friend when she isn’t. Because she knows we could talk about books. Later on I wonder if it’s because we both know about being sad too.

D, O, and N are all only children. I teach them how to hug, because they don’t do that. At first, it’s funny because I’m purposely making them uncomfortable. Then it’s funny because they start to hug me on their own.

O was right. We should have ordered everyone’s movie tickets ahead of time. But I like to playfully argue with her about planning everything. Like when she calls my phone after I’ve just texted her to say I’m walking to the restaurant from my parking spot and I pretend to be annoyed. We flip the plans, and head to dinner first, buying tickets for the 11 p.m. show. We kill an entire bottle of Bacardi for mojitos and two bottles of wine for sangria, but thankfully there are only two other people when we get to the theater to see The Beguiled, so we don’t get kicked out when we start yelling the cheer from Bring It On every time Kirsten Dunst comes onscreen.

A bunch of weekends blur into one. I am practically D and S’s third roommate this first single year in many years. I sleep on their couch. S spoon feeds me mac n’ cheese while we binge watch Master Chef Junior, Big Little Lies, and Westworld. They like watching me watch TV because I yell out whatever I’m thinking. It takes me three drunken trips to the burrito spot on the corner where I order in Spanish late at night before I can remember what it is called.

D sings to me during most of live-action Beauty and the Beast. The people sitting in front of us keep shushing her, but we don’t get kicked out of the movie theater this time either. I’m worried I am going to cry. I do. So does D. Afterwards we have to call S because I don’t remember the name of the burrito spot she always takes me to when I’m drunk.

We can’t think of anything to do. Even though Chicago is voted the best city for having it all. We don’t want to just sit somewhere and drink. We don’t want museums or the zoo. As a joke, S mentions someone telling her about this porn film-festival. I proclaim we have to go. That doing something equally out of our comfort zone will take our friendship to the next level. We drink a bunch of wine beforehand. It makes D friendly and she compares cat pictures with the gay couple in front of us. I sit between her and S. The show starts and any time I am uncomfortable I turn my head from side to side. Their faces are priceless. I am so incredibly happy.

It’s D’s bachelorette weekend. We drive to a house in Galena. Everyone is way too excited to scream out t.A.T.u lyrics in a moving vehicle. I force O to try kool-aid when I find out she wasn’t allowed to drink it growing up, and I can’t stop laughing at how much she hates it. We smoke cigars in the hot tub, and spend the next day hungover on a couch that is covered in potato chip crumbs. I drift in and out of consciousness enjoying the simplicity of being next to people I love.

It’s the night of D’s wedding. I check my phone and see that N has sent me (and D, O, and S) a snapchat of my makeout from a window somewhere. Touché, I think to myself. If I’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be friends with myself, I know now, because that’s exactly what I would have done. The next day I say “Well at least this time it was in a Wendy’s parking lot” and D asks me to rethink what I just said.

I am sprawled on my own couch. We were supposed to leave for the wine walk by now, but I am so, so incredibly hungover. I was proud to have managed to put on pants to go downstairs and let them all in. They speculated in the group-chat beforehand about what color Gatorade to bring me, and while I drink it, N braids my hair. S tries to do my makeup, but ends up putting lip primer on my eyelids. D and O raid my closet to pick out an outfit for me, and lay out a plaid flannel next to me on the couch. They leave me with a bottle of ibuprofen, and when I finally rally to meet up with them an hour and half later, they all scream out “KATNISS” because of my French braid and run to hug me. Everyone in the store is confused, but I’ve never felt more wanted in my life.

O sends me a journal and set of colored pens for my birthday without signing her name and fulfills the biggest dream of my adult life — to receive a surprise package in the mail. It sounds dumb, but I am the person who always reads the names on packages, even if I haven’t ordered anything – just in case. D flies in just for the occasion and everyone gets me a piñata filled with little tequila bottles. I break it open before we head to karaoke, which is a complete blur, but ends on Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, and it’s absolutely perfect.

We are watching Game of Thrones for the millionth time. Yelling over each other, interrupting, arguing, shushing, passing around bottles of red wine, refilling, shushing, passing, refilling. I’m gushing over Cersei and everyone is ripping me a new one for it. As soon as she mentions “Ellaria Sand and her brood of bitches” I get an alert on my cell phone. O has changed the name of our group chat.

And it has stayed that way ever since. TC mark



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