I am a different breed. I have strong legs, painted fingernails, brown hair like the rest of the girls in the world, but I’m not the same. I don’t fit into the social archetype for a college female: get drunk, stay up all night, have meaningless one-night stands.

No, I don’t really participate in either of the three…though I’ll admit, I’ve kissed a few girls in my day: a best friend, a college roommate, a guy friend’s girl friend. And yes, I am, at times, fond of the first. There is nothing wrong, after all, with a couple White Russians on a Friday night or a glass of Sangria on a Tuesday after work. But who am I in the social world? I just don’t fit. I work harder than most of the full-time businessmen/businesswomen I know, but I don’t match the schoolgirl mold. I go to parties, laugh and dance, but I don’t lose myself. I know how many tequila shots it’ll take for my stomach to roll over. I know that walking home barefoot is always better than teetering in heels. And I know that there’s never an excuse for forgetting to brush your teeth before bedtime.

I am a Leslie. I run to solve my problems, I run to get away. I run, faster than probably half the boys I know. I don’t watch television. I wear dresses and cowboy boots, shorts and sandals through the last weeks of September. I have plans for a future that I’m afraid of.

Does it matter whether or not I fall into relationships, sexual encounters, like traffic accidents—stop, go, quick reflexes—crash? Do I need to be spineless, dressed in lipstick, tied with a bow? Or can I just burn the casserole, stub my big toe on the edge of the concrete steps, drift into asleep mid-sentence, fall in love completely?

I am a Leslie. I create stories in my mind; I see leaves and dandelions as small treasures. I write to remember, I write to forget. I write until the world is new, make-believe, Terabithia. And then I exist happily in it.


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