“Let’s kiss,” she begged. It was Friday. Alex was fluent in Spanish and she also knew how to french. She looked Germanic close-up, blond hair and fat blue grasshopper eyes, kind of gross in retrospect. One two three I counted and held my breath. Nutty Buddy and Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips were her favorite snacks. When we kissed it tasted like bittersweet sulfuric chocolate onion breath. I had to imagine Johnny Depp.
Her name was Alex Alexandria and she shouldn’t be confused with my other friends Alexandria Virginia and Virginia Alexandra, who I’ll talk about later when I have more time. When Alex and I first met it was post-Islamic revolution and pre-AIDS, just at the cusp of Reaganomics. I told mom to vote for Carter because I knew he wouldn’t win because the ayatollah K had it in for him. Soon after the Beach Boys went gold with “Bomb Iran.” I always hated the beach and most boys and the concept of nuclear fission.
This is also around the time I discovered boys could act like girls. Until I met Alex there was a definite line between the sexes, Republican and Democrat, dog cat, penis vagina. Gender meant pink dress pink bow not horns and red sneakers. My mother always said I could grow up to be a nurse one day but what I really wanted was to be a skyscraper window washer instead or a lion tamer. Alex wanted to be a girl. Because of Alex I knew I could grown wings.
“Is Alex your boyfriend,” mom asked. “No,” I said. “Alex is girl.”
Alex would come over at least twice a week and she’d read to me from her mother’s copy of The Malleus Maleficarum. “All those who are commonly called witches are to be condemned to death. And again: Those who harm innocent lives by magic arts are to be thrown to the beasts.” (Part III) Alex’s mother practiced Wicca on most occasions but she was a beast bewitched by chain smokers. At the very least she came from outer space.
Alex and I created a time capsule on our birthday, a time bomb of sorts, with locks of hair and lucky charms. Buried it beneath the monkey bars at Topeekeegee Yugnee Park amongst the remains of the ancestors. Bled on the ground for good luck and killed a spider for the hell of it, black widow, black magic. It’s probably still there, time machine and bug, corpuscle and chicken bones. I’m waiting for some nosy brat to dig it up and return it to me so I can shot put it to kingdom come.
One morning, at school, maybe on a Friday, Alex’s mom stormed in and snatched her from homeroom like a lioness drags her cub away, like prey. I became a proud carnivore that day, red meat and potatoes. Wore it like a corsage over my heart, bloody lips. Soon after I become nyctophobic and averse to childbearing. I wanted to join the mob and left behind my mother’s illusion of me becoming a nurse practitioner. White lie: I’m afraid of blood.
Alex’s last words: “See you in Timbuktu.”