When we were 7, my friend Jane and I climbed a couple branches too high on the old oak tree in her backyard and took a tumble. Looking back, I’m not really sure if it was an oak tree, but that’s what Jane called it: “the old oak.” I guess “the old cherry blossom” or “the old North American pine” didn’t have the same ring to it. Details aren’t really her thing, especially mundane ones.
Luckily, the old oak was in rough shape so a couple branches too high was really only 10ft off the ground. After the fall I was left with a broken nose that healed into a bump that gives my face a certain witch-like quality. Jane was left with a small, crescent shaped scar on right arm, up near her shoulder. Since then, she likes to wear tank tops and tell people how she got it. I’ve never heard her tell the same story twice.
Jane was good at seeing opportunities like this to be creative. Her favorite game to play is trying out a new name when she meets someone new. She’s always resented the plainness and anonymity of her name. She prefers to be a Cecelia or a Cordelia or a Daisy, something memorable. “Honestly,” she always says, “how many famous people are out there named Jane?”
It helps that she’s beautiful. Exceptionally beautiful, really. The type of non-threatening beautiful that makes people let her get away with stuff. I’ve known her since we were three years old, and I still find myself making excuses for her and getting prickly when I hear girls at the party whispering about her. Because Jane might be a pain in the ass, but Earth would be a whole lot duller without her.
It’s true that Jane might live half her time on the wrong side of reality, but at least she’s living . All day, every day she is making the most of her time on this planet. Jane is the ultimate yes-man. Everything is a possibility, every plan has some merit. Plus, she’s hysterical. Anyone who hasn’t sat down and listened to on of her stories will probably never know what it’s like to laugh so hard that tears are streaming down your face, your diaphragm is cramping up, and might have just peed yourself a little.
There’s no denying that Jane is the prettiest picture in whatever room she’s in. The picture you can’t help but comment on when you walk into the room. The picture that looks one way from far away, and a completely differently up close. The picture you wish you had a print of to hang in your own room.
She’s just hung a bit crookedly.