‘You know,’ Lulu said, ‘I think I was a little bit in love with him. He just smelled so good. Like clean laundry.’
Oh shit. I’d forgotten about this. It isn’t the way he thinks, or what he believes in, or what his ambitions are. It’s the way he smells. Duh.
This is a major flashback. Lost in adulthood and years of filling the dishwasher and avoiding getting the hoover out. This is pure youth. Experiencing things for the first time before the earth goes and revolves 10,000 more times. The way someone smells.
This kid is living the full-on thirteen-year old experience. The boy she was or still is a little bit in love with is having his own problems He’d call Lulu at night outside his house. He didn’t want to go inside. He’d share some thoughts of self-harm. It was a lot for her to process.
I only know because I watched her face. Lulu has always worn her worries on it.. and it was starting to look like Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress. A lot of green velvet brocade. As a side note – do you remember the curtain tie sash? Totally awesome.
Lulu is going to live her own life. If we try and stop it, it’ll be the dumbest thing we do. Besides the millions of other dumb things we regularly do. She’d already split up with the boy by this point anyhow, and was still talking to him as a friend.
Now, the story goes that a lot of people want to beat him up. He is permanently in hiding in school – in its designated safe house or sometimes even sitting with the school secretary. When Lulu told me, it seemed a bit fishy.
‘Nah, it’s just people keep targeting him,’ Lu explained, ‘because he’s been having a hard time at home.’
How mean are kids I thought? Then this kid got mad at Lu. She talks to another boy – purely platonic (I know because the bungalow is small for good reason). And her ex-boyfriend started calling Lulu names. The truth is that a lot of kids at school have been calling her names since she’s been mainly hanging out with the boys. Turns out hanging with the boys is a social no-no if you want to have friends besides boys, who Lulu discovered, also have the annoying disadvantage of being semi-permanently distracted by her chest region.
‘So, you spend all this time helping him and he calls you names back for being friends with other boys?’ I asked her.
She sighed. ‘Turns out that’s why everyone else is pissed with him too. He trash talks people, then he pretends he doesn’t.’
‘Does that override the fact that he smells nice?’
Scarlett O’Hara in red silk. Eyes closed. ‘He does smell nice.’