Classisa is 12 years old. She has been dating Geordie for about a week. In this week, dating has meant that they’ve sat next to each other at lunch, and on the weekend, they went to the movies and held hands.
Clarissa got dropped off by her mom at her friend Jamie’s house. After fumbling with the doorknob since she was holding two sweaters and two nail polish containers in her hands and didn’t have a bag with her, she went in and upstairs to Jamie’s hot-pink-color room. Jamie’s mom always left the house door open for the neighbors to come in at any time.
Jamie was on her bed reading some Asimov (a hand-me-down book from her brother) with Modest Mouse blasting on her computer. Clarissa dropped her small armload onto the end of the bed, and said, dramatically, “That’s it. I want it to be over.” Jamie blew a watermelon-smelling bubble, turned over, closed her book, and sat up. “Why?” she asked slowly, wanting to draw out the details from Clarissa patiently and slowly.
“I think he likes Liz,” answered Clarissa, looking towards the hardwood floor.
“Liz is so strange. There’s no way Geordie could like Liz,” answered Jamie.
“No, I know, I just know. They’re both in my science class, and I just can tell.”
“Claire, there’s no way. I just wouldn’t believe it.”
“Well, I don’t like it. I don’t like how he talks to her slowly and waits for her every word.”
“What did he say?” asked Jamie.
“He was asking about how she and Marie had done their homework, but I know he did his with Peter because that’s who was assigned to him, so there’s no way Liz’s homework was really interesting to him – he just wanted to talk to her in front of me. So that I’d see that he likes her,” said Clarissa resolutely.
“I just don’t buy that,” said Jamie.
“Well, that’s final. I don’t want him anymore,” said Clarissa.
“Did you tell him?” asked Jamie.
“Are you going to?”
“But you like hanging out during school – what are you going to do now?”
“I’ll hang out with you and the girls again,” said Clarissa.
“But you like him.”
“I used to like him. I used to get to the cafeteria and look around, ‘Where’s Geordie? Where’s Geordie?'” said Clarissa, “And now, I’m just,” she moved the sweaters away and picked up the bright orange color of nailpolish, “I’m just bored.”
“I don’t exactly believe you,” said Jamie.
“Which color, J?” asked Clarissa.
So Clarissa took the other nail polish container and sat on the edge of the bed next to Jamie.
“I don’t really want to dump him,” said Clarissa, moving the nail polish container from hand to hand, as if stalling.
“Well, I guess you don’t have to – unless you think he really does like Liz.”
“I really, really think he does.”
“Well, then you should,” said Jamie.
“Ok, I will,” said Clarissa, “And if we’re supposed to be together, then we’ll get back together again.”
“Ok, ok, and if he gets together with Liz, then you’ll know you were right,” said Jamie.
Jamie took the yellow nail polish from Clarrisa, and started painting her own nails, painting every other one while Clarissa moved her knees towards herself and hugged them up to her chest.
“So how will you break up with him?” asked Jamie.
“I’ll just tell him,” said Clarissa. “I’ll just tell him, ‘Look, Geordie, it doesn’t feel right now, and maybe it’ll feel right later.'”
“Ok,” said Jamie, “And how will you feel?”
“Ok, so what will you do to not feel crappy?”
“I don’t know.”
“You do?” asked Clarissa.
“Yes, there are two things you can do if you want to stop thinking about a guy…”
“Ok…” Clarissa waited.
“You need to either start thinking about another guy immediately – so we’ll need to think up who – or the guy has to have done something absolutely terrible, and you have to keep remembering how bad that terrible thing was.”
“Ok, well he didn’t do anything terrible – except he flirted with Liz in front of me.”
“Ok,” said Jamie, “Well, you either have to say in your head that that was the worst thing he could have possibly done, or you’ll have to tell me who the next guy is that you’re gonna like?”
“Well, name someone you think is cute,” and Jamie passed the yellow nail polish over to Clarissa.