Becca


I’ve known Becca since before we could walk. Neither of us has any sisters (I have an older brother, she was an only child), so we just pretended we were sisters. Becca was most definitely the “good” one. While in truth she was in no way what my mother would call “a proper young lady,” she could at least pretend to be when adults were around.

“Why can’t you be more like Becca?” my mother would ask, after I’d break something or light something on fire or come home tracking mud on the carpet or make a mess at the dinner table.

“I can’t be like Becca,” I told her. “She’s Becca, I’m me. I can’t be like her any more than she can be like me, because then we’d be each other instead of who we are.”

At this point, my mother would sigh and pour herself another drink (I say “another” because this was almost certainly not the first of the day). “Well, run along and play with her,” she said, “Maybe she’ll be a good influence on you.”

Becca was anything but a good influence, though. For example, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have ever started smoking. One day, she stole a pack of cigarettes from her mom’s purse. She said they’d make us look glamorous, like Audrey Hepburn. I didn’t know who Audrey Hepburn was at the time, but if Becca thought she was cool, that was good enough for me. We smoked the whole pack, passing the cigarettes back and forth like joints, taking long drags and trying to look as glamorous as possible. I ended up throwing up, but it was the most glamorous vomit of my life.

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