twirled a strand of my hair around his finger. I rolled over and snatched a cooling french fry
from his napkin before the ants
got to it.
He feigned bashfulness. Unsuccessfully.
"I always thought that sunshiny people were stupid. That cheerful was really empty. I thought that it took angst to be deep. You disprove everything."
I considered this, unsure of what to say. I know that the girls he has dated before have some very serious issues they should have dealt with before trying to commit to relationships. I am also the oldest person he has ever dated (by three years), and the only one who has lived independently of her parents. But I didn't know what to tell him.
And then a miraculous little voice came from my mouth. I don't know where my words came from... I have never given these issues enough thought to formulate the marvelous response I gave him.
"When I was younger, I was too full of self-doubt and self-loathing to form a proper identity. But it was easy to make comparisons, and I thought there was more depth in a depressing character than a cheerful one. I was comparing Tori Amos to Madonna and felt like I could identify with the misery, not the bubblegum. But there is no depth to images... only to real identities. It took time and experience and hardships and hard-earned triumphs to find who I want to be. And I'm still exploring and expanding on that. But now that I know that I can be whatever I want, now that I am more than a two-dimensional figure of a person... I can't help but be happy."
He stared at me, not knowing that I wasn't sure where the words had come from.
"You're an amazing person, Jennifer."
"Thank you, darlin."
..And the ants descended on our impromptu picnic, the sun rewarded us with his approving warmth, he lovingly tangled his fingers in my hair, and I pondered what I'd just said. I really have come a long way.