Back when we were kids, our group used to have all sorts of games to tell who liked who. We pulled petals off of daisies, twisted stems of off apples, and caught all our tigers all by the toes. Kids eventually came to our lunch table in secret to find out who they would end up with. We were like the soothsayers of schoolyard love.
When we got to middle school, Becca and Sally got into Tarot cards. I preferred to make my own fate. Mike Arvin was the hottest boy and school. And I dug him. We went steady all through middle school until he dumped me before high school. All summer, I was dumbstruck.
By high school, I decided to go for a boy who was a bit of a bad lad: Chris McElhoe. I just dated him to get at Mike. They hated each other. Finally, it worked and I jumped at the first chance to get back with him.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work for too long. He didn’t trust me anymore, not after I was “whoring around” with Chris, as he put it. It didn’t work out. I became disgusted with myself and I ate too much. I was ugly and so he dumped me.
It wasn’t until I developed my bulimia and anorexia that I started losing some weight again. As soon as I did, Chris started taking an interest in me. I wanted to be loved, so I took him. We stayed together off and on, even into college, though I wouldn’t call myself his girlfriend then. He cheated on me, then we broke up and I still stayed on as one of his side girls.
Eventually, we got married. He would frequently yell at me and throw bottles to scare me. I learned a lot of ways to cover bruises. I was always faithful to him, but he only remembered that one time in high school when I left him for Mike. He always figured I’d do it again at the first chance I could get. And maybe I would. But who would want me?
You see, I should have thought of this back then: when I would play “eenie meenie miney moe,” I’d always start with the first choice and it would land on the opposite one. This was my problem when I was little, just like it is now. I’d always choose want I wanted first and I always landed on the opposite side. Just like when we we played soothsayers as little girls. I wonder if the others were able to pick out their own destinies through all the muddle.