Authors: Dani Hall
Just Like Me
This book is dedicated to my beautiful family.
Mom, Dad, Sara, and Cali- thank-you for your immeasurable love, support, and strength.
Cody- thank-you for your continuing patience and your unwavering love, you will always be my heart and soul.
“How do you spell…melancholy?”
It’s funny how she’s the English major and she’s asking me how to spell stuff.
Lisa was typing furiously at her laptop, getting mad at each individual letter.
“I HATE papers.”
“And yet you’re the English major.” She stuck her tongue out briefly before hitting the backspace button threateningly. I briefly reconsidered my education major…but I really wanted to be a first grade teacher. Even if I am good with words, I wouldn’t want all of those English classes.
Lisa has been my best friend since second grade, and now she’s my roommate in my second year of college. She’s everything I’m not. She’s happy, bubbly, and blonde. I’m mellow, sullen, and brunette. Her light blue eyes make every guy in school fall head over heels in love, while my green eyes don’t pop enough for any guy to notice. But that’s how I’ve always known it. Lisa gets the guy, Kale gets the grades. It’s always been like that.
“I’d rather do your geography homework.” She grumbled, briefly letting her hands leave the keyboard to reach for her hot pink water bottle. “You can write this stupid paper, you’re good at stuff like this.”
“You are too; you’re just not as motivated.” She took a sip, shaking her head.
“You’re right, I’d rather be asleep.”
“I’m always right,” I was busy attempting to draw, procrastinating ironically. “The sooner you admit that, the better off you’ll be.”
She wadded up a paper ball and threw it at me. I caught it and threw it right back. We giggled and her phone started ringing.
“Ooh! It’s Ben!” Ben is Lisa’s boyfriend of ten months. “Hello?...hey baby! How was your day?...”
I shook my head and refocused on my drawing. It’s an abstract, a mermaid and a kid with tentacles instead of a tail. I can’t get the mermaid’s mouth right. “My day was great!” Nope, the mouth is too full. Erase. “I’m working on this paper. Yea, it’s crap.” Now it’s not full enough. Ugh. “For English…you’re good at writing papers right?...well a C paper will probably be better than what I’m going to get.”
I glance over with a smirk and toss the sheet of black and white lines on to my bed; I can’t look at that stupid mermaid any more tonight.
As Lisa continues to lovingly babble to Ben, I consider my own dating experiences. Which, granted, are very few. Besides a couple guys I danced with at prom and an almost-boyfriend…I’m clueless when it comes to dating. Sad, right? Yea, I know.
It’s past midnight and I am staring at the T.V. screen. Lisa is too, but she’s a night owl. I used to be a morning person before I started college. We’re watching some sitcom with the dumb dad and kids that are smarter than anyone in the house. All of the sitcoms are the same, aren’t they? Mind numbing, you find yourself drooling by the end of these. I look over at Lisa, a cell phone is lighting up her face, and she’s texting Ben probably. It’s dark except for the T.V. glowing and reflecting on the white cement walls. I can see my tie dye bedspread in the dark; its bright personality reflects Lisa more than it does me. Lisa’s bright pink covers reflect her well, too.
“Hey, Kale.” She whispered, looking up from her phone. She was lying down under her covers, raised up on her elbows as her stomach grazed the top of her bed. I was on my side watching T.V., my elbow propped up, my hand cupping my head.
“You think me and Ben will end up together?”
I sighed, not taking my eyes off the T.V. My eyes were getting heavy finally; sleepiness was knocking at my door. I had learned a long time ago that I couldn’t come between Lisa and whatever boy she happened to be dating. I learned it the hard way, the first jerk she dated she was absolutely in love with. When I had tried to convince her he was a jerk…we had stopped talking. So now I was trying to sound unbiased.
“Well, you’ve been dating almost a year.”
She considered that for a second, gazing back down at her phone.
“Yea. But…I don’t know. I’m not sure if I can see us on that long walk down the aisle towards death together.”
“Maybe you’re just tired.” I suggested, reaching for the remote and flipping the T.V. off. Darkness descended further into the room, the only light now was the light of Lisa’s cell phone.
“Maybe.” She didn’t sound convinced. “Maybe I’ll end up with a movie star.”
I laughed into the darkness, turning on my back and gazing up into nothing.
“That sounds swell. Do me a favor, when you become some famous wife, buy me an island, will you?”
“Sounds good to me. Only if you become rich and famous, you have to buy me a mountain. An
mountain. Not some skimpy little thing either. A big mountain. With a log cabin. And a ski slope.”
I loved hot. She loved cold. I loved coffee. She loved tea. I loved mornings. She loved nights. Complete opposites, yet we got along fairly well.
“Sure, Lisa. You can go to sleep knowing I’ll buy you a mountain someday.”
“Well, it could happen.” She flipped her phone off and I heard her rustling around in her bed. I was closing my eyes, skating on the edge of sleep when her voice cut through the darkness. “You heard that competition on the news?”
“Wahmf?” I muttered through my daze.
“They’re trying to prove that celebrities are just like normal people, or something. They’re trying to get a celebrity to go on a date with a normal person. A competition or something.”
“Huh.” I muttered. “You know I don’t care about those stupid people who think they’re God.”
“Yea, but if me and Ben don’t work out. You never know. Maybe I could have a shot at it.”
I only caught the last few words as I drifted off, unable to avoid the cloud of dreams.
I woke up to the angry sound of my alarm clock, yelling at me for even considering sleeping at this hour. I shook the fog from my brain, shutting the freaking thing off. I have yet to meet a human being who loved their alarm clock. Its shrill voice should be replaced with something more subtle, like kitten meows or an angel choir.
Lisa mumbled into her pillow and didn’t move.
“Oh no, you don’t.” I flung my pillow at the top of her head and she groaned.
“No.” She said halfheartedly wagging her arm at me. “Not today.”
“That’s what you get for going to sleep at two in the morning.” I swung my legs over and let my feet hit the cold floor. Shivers went up through me and I shook my head clear of the last sleepy thoughts. “Rise and shine, it’s time for class!”
“I don’t want to go.” She was still mumbling into her pillow.
“It’s Friday?” I added, somewhat hopefully.
I saw one eye peek out at me.
I didn’t move so she rose up completely. She sat up, excited, and a streak of guilt went through me.
“Get up!” I said, smiling. She slit her eyes at me.
“It’s not Friday.” She snapped and fell back into her pillows. I shook my head.
“Whatever, it’s not like you don’t have three absences to blow through…”
She had, in fact, used up all of her absences for the semester. And we still had two months of the semester left.
“Ugh!” She threw her pillow at me and sat up, rubbing sleep out of her eyes. “Why did I sign up for an eight o’clock class? Why?” She looked toward the ceiling and threw her hands up. “Why didn’t you strike me with lightening when I signed up for this class?” Her cute pajamas made my baggy t-shirt look like trailer trash.
“The ceiling won’t answer you.”
“I was halfway hoping it would fall on my head so I could get a concussion and have an excuse to cut class.”
I walked out the door and down the hallway into the bathroom, spewing toothpaste on my toothbrush. As I brushed I looked at my reflection thoughtfully. In the movies how come they never get toothpaste all over their mouth? How come they wake up with their hair already perfectly straightened? My hair looked like it had seen a blow torch, and it was impossible for me to brush my teeth without getting toothpaste all over my mouth.
I spit and rinsed my brush and watched the mirror as Lisa went staggering around the corner so she could take her morning shower. She tended to take two showers a day, I gave her credit, I hardly had the energy for one.
“Don’t come over here.” She grumbled. “I’m naked.”
“Like I’d want to see all that.” I yelled, trying to yank a brush through my hair. The water started up and her voice started echoing with the water.
“Yea, I know why you haven’t had a boyfriend in so long. You can’t keep your eyes off of me!”
“Oh you bet, sexy.”
We both laughed and I shook my head as I finished applying the finishing touches on my makeup, remembering back to the last boy who had broken my heart. Chris was the guy who had led me on for so long. He made me think we had something, and then had no problem running away from me as fast as he could.
I heard my phone going off so I set my lip gloss down and went grabbed my phone that I had placed on the counter. I unlocked it and realized I had an email.
“Who’s texting you at this God-awful hour?”
I grinned as I stepped back into the bathroom. She’s going to be pissed my eight o’clock class was cancelled.