I saw a young woman today in the window of a passing bus who reminded me of Melinda Mason, the beautiful girl who liked me in tenth grade. I attended that school for just one wretched semester, and she was the only person who ever talked to me. We met in French 1, where she was the best student in class and I was the worst. She sat at the front of my row and would come by to pick up my tests and quizzes. One time she saw I was writing something and asked what it was. A poem, I said. Oh really, she said, you write poetry?
After I moved away, I wrote to thank her for being nice to me, and she wrote back that everyone thought I was a narc because right after I left, a bunch of kids got busted for dealing. Then one thing led to another and I took a two-hour train ride to visit her. She confessed to having had a crush on me. She said she arranged to have a friend follow my head as she entered French class to see if I was watching her. Of course I was watching her the entire time because she was easily the most amazing girl in school – so beautiful and smart and self-possessed. She wore odd clothes and clearly didn’t care what anyone thought of her clothes, or her, or anything.
One time we met at her locker.
She owned a horse and sometimes wore a t-shirt that said Horse Feathers.
She liked my poetry.
The day I visited her, we sat on her couch and listened to the Heart album Dreamboat Annie.