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309 pages, Paperback
First published September 4, 2018
“I realize that finding the perfect person isn’t going to be easy for me because I’m a lot to take,” she says, “but I’m not going to change just so that I’m more datable.”
“I like being your person.”
“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.”
“I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”
“You’re second only to a unicorn as far as best friends go, Josh Im.”
“I always thought I caught you in . . . a phase. His left eyebrow makes a fancy arch. "Apparently you're just like this.”
“Are you listening?”
“You are perfect for me.”
“But at the end of the day", she says, and puts her hand outside the open window, letting the wind pass through her fingers, "being myself is enough. I'm enough.
"I realize that finding the perfect person isn't going to be easy for me because I'm a lot to take, but I'm not going to change just so that I'm more datable."
"I've never really had a love that could consume me. I want to know that kind of fire."
"I saw myself and Mom from the outside in a way I hadn't before, like Dad represented this mainstream ideal and she and I were these loud, bouncing yellow dots outside the standard curve."
Sometimes your lack of filter kills me,” he says. “It’s not even like you lack a filter; you lack a funnel.”
It’s cool.” I wave an extremely casual hand. “Josh has already seen my boobs.”
The party stops. Air stills.
“I mean, not because he wanted to see them.” My brain desperately tries to fix this. “They were forced on him.”
A wind chime rings mournfully in the distance.
Birds stop flying midair and fall to their deaths.
Sorry. I’m being too Hazel-y.”
I watch her wash the dishes and manage to clean up the kitchen quite capably while I pick at my breakfast. She isn’t pouting, and it doesn’t seem like I’ve hurt her feelings—she honestly just seems to have heard something in my tone that I didn’t intend.
“What does that mean,” I ask, “ ‘being too Hazel-y’?”
Turning with a dish towel in her hand, she shrugs. “I tend to be too chatty, too silly, too exuberant, too random, too eager.” She spreads her hands. “Too Hazel-y.”
I can’t believe I’m encouraging this conversation, but you were telling me about your gynecologist snubbing you and I’m actually curious to hear how it turned out.”
“So I stopped in the middle of the gymnasium and smiled at him—not my courtesy smile, but my real one—and he just walked by.”
“Maybe he didn’t see you.”
“He definitely saw me—and don’t get me wrong, I run into guys all the time who’ve seen my vagina and pretend not to know who I am. Things don’t work out and that’s fine. But I paid this guy.”
“Me?” I honestly have no idea how many guys I’ve been with, so I pull a lowball number out of the air. “Maybe twenty.”
His eyes go wide and he coughs as he swallows. “Twenty?”
“Actually probably more? Let’s say thirty.”
Josh shakes his head and laughs. “Wow, okay.”
This response is not an improvement.
“Don’t do that.” I point a finger at him. “Don’t act like I’ve crossed some magical threshold of appropriate numbers for a woman. If I was a dude and said that, you’d reply, ‘In high school, right?’ and then high-five me and call me brah.”