THE ANTI-VALENTINE’S GIRLS
BY LAUREN FREEMAN
Kari Doyle, one-eighth Native American and seven-eighths total basket case, stopped straightening her hair. She just stopped. Now this might not seem like a great feat, but for this image conscious, post-adolescent drama queen, appearance was everything. Her bottle-blonde hair now exposed chestnut roots and her normally sleek, silky mane that brushed past the nape of her neck was now a frizzy mess.
This radical change in her upkeep occurred on a day that will no doubt “live in infamy” for this egocentric teenybopper. Mark Armstrong, the captain of Marina High School’s surf team, dumped her without any explanation, just a flat out “this doesn’t work for me anymore.” Kari was devastated. To add to her misery, a few days later, Mark began traipsing around with a perky freshman glued to his arm, sporting the jacket Kari always wore to Mrs. Sorrell’s chilly English class.
I walked with Kari after fifth period on Friday, February 14 and opened my locker to find a black piece of construction paper wedged in the dinghy, blue box.
Kari nodded, “I got one of those too.”
“No flowers. No candy. No pink. No red. No romance. Be there at nine o’clock.” I read the six sentences over in my head. Christina told us that she wanted to have us “single girls” over tonight, but gave no indication as to what she was brewing.
At 8:55 p.m. I left my house flustered. I was always running late. When I got into the car, my hair was barely brushed and still damp from the shower. At the first stop light, I applied my berry lip gloss and turned up the radio to sing along with my “honorary valentine,” J.C. Chasez, my favorite member of *NSYNC. I was cruising with the sunroof open and the windows down; the ocean breeze was swimming through my hair. Not a single thought crossed my mind as I watched the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. As I pulled into Alexis’ driveway, I quickly changed the station to mask my pop princess tendencies.
Alexis got into my car, and I shook my head. She looked hot. The girl was wearing an adorable sparkly, black tank top with a long denim skirt, and I was practically in my pajamas.
“I want to go to the party,” she told me, glaring at me as if I had dragged her into the car.
The party to which she was referring was at Mark’s house (yes, that Mark), and everyone who mattered in that cliquey high school kind of way was going to be there. Alexis’ need to be at that party was motivated by Billy Wagner, the meathead jock with whom she was currently smitten. This was actually quite odd behavior for Alexis, who was normally in control of her romantic conquests. Yet, something was different with Billy; I just couldn’t put my finger on what.
“Is he going to be there?” I retorted. I, on the other hand, was looking forward to Christina’s intimate gathering opposed to a drunken shindig.
“Hi girls!” Christina exclaimed, as we walked into her immaculate house and were bombarded with goofy party hats “You know the rules, don’t touch anything or else my mom will know you were all here, and other than that, let’s have some fun!”
Kari emerged from the kitchen giggling. She motioned us to follow her. We walked in and sat on the barstools, as she played bartender and poured us “magic elixir” into decorative chalices.
“A toast,” proposed Kari.
“To what, exactly?” Alexis asked, fingering the edge of the glass.
I stood up and raised my goblet. “To four hungry man-eaters…” I trailed off as if my creative juices had all leaked out.
“To four hungry man-eaters, out to seek vengeance on a Hallmark manufactured holiday. Enemies beware!” Christina stood up, thoroughly proud of herself, and we all clanked glasses.
We chugged the elixir, which turned out to be champagne, without the slightest ounce of sophistication, being the true amateurs that we were.
“So what’s next?” asked Alexis, trying to keep her tone from sounding sarcastic.
“Well, I rented movies, I’ve got my guitar, we can roast marshmallows, and I bought brownie mix, despite my mother’s attempts to wield me away from them.” Christina said, quite matter-of-factly.
“She’s still on your back about the whole weight thing?” I asked her, in the most considerate way I could think of. Christina nodded. “Don’t worry,” I continued “We are going to get those gym passes once March rolls around.”
Christina sighed and creased her “Shirley Temple curls” behind her ear. She demanded that we make the brownies to prove that she could care less about what her mother said. We all knew that she was upset, her mother constantly pestered her about her appearance, which really wasn’t that bad. What’s worse, Christina honestly believed that unless she lost weight no one would see what a beautiful person she was; she feared she would always be known as cute, which for a teenage girl was a fate worse than death.
“I brought something, girls.” Kari announced, unsure of how we would react. She pulled a tiny bag out of her purse and laid it on the bar. Christina stopped mixing the batter and looked at her, uncertain as to what it was.
“It’s weed.” Alexis said, smirking.
“It is?” Christina asked, slightly disgusted. She continued, “What are you doing with it, Kari?”
“I’m not sure exactly, I just thought we could have some fun with it.” Kari responded.
That was the end of that discussion; Christina stammered out of the kitchen and started playing her guitar. I walked over and sat down with her to make her feel less uncomfortable.
“You don’t have to smoke it,” I told her “none of us does.”
“Good, I don’t want us to do that kind of stuff.” She looked at Kari “It scares me that you want to.” We talked it over for a few minutes, quite rationally, and once again things were kosher between us.
“Where’s Alexis?” Kari asked, noticing that she had been missing for a while. We walked into the kitchen and found Alexis putting the tray of brownies into the oven.
“I kind of put the pot in the brownies,” Alexis said, satisfied with her accomplishment. Christina looked as if she was going to jump her, but we restrained her, which was not an easy task. “No,” Alexis cautioned, pressing her finger against Christina’s lips. “I had an idea. You know how Mark Armstrong is having that party tonight?”
I rolled my eyes, not comprehending Alexis’ obsession with being seen at that party.
But Kari smirked, realizing Alexis’ scheme “I think I know where you’re going with this,” she said.
We began to plot our attack on Mark’s party, “Operation Kari’s Revenge,” (we were so clever) as the stench of the leafy contraband filled the spotless kitchen.
When the brownies were done, we piled them onto a heart-shaped plate and were off to wreak havoc at the Valentine’s bash. I sped down the Pacific Coast Highway as the sea spray permeated our skin. Pumped up and ready for action, we wailed like banshees to every song that came on the radio, waking up the peaceful community of Huntington Beach.
Disappointingly, we found the scene at Mark’s to be nothing more than a high school keg party. As seniors, we were more than sick of that environment. Yet, we trudged on and made it to the front door. I cringed at the Cupid hanging from the knob, which was not only a tacky disaster, but also a dead give away for cops who love to patrol our neighborhood.
Kari knocked on the door, and as Mark clumsily flung it open, he appeared flabbergasted to see her. She flashed him a gleaming smile and handed him the plate of brownies.
“Come in,” he said motioning towards the rest of us, “the party wouldn’t be the same without you girls.”
Kari just shook her head and walked away; she had told him that we baked the brownies for his party, but had a prior engagement to attend to. As she turned away, she was unable to conceal her delight. Four high-fives later, we got into the car and headed back to Christina’s. We spent the rest of the night and early hours of the morning watching movies that evoked our inner girl power and getting quite toasted as we polished off the rest of the champagne bottle. But most importantly, we could hardly contain our exhilaration over our evening’s adventures. With or without boys, our Valentine’s Day was amazing. We were bona fide crazy girls and we were damn proud of it, too.
The following Monday the rumor buzzing around school was that Mark Armstrong was kicked off the surf team for failing his monthly drug test. On a side note, on March 1st Christina and I joined our local branch of 24 Hour Fitness. As for Alexis, she has now been dating Billy Wagner for a year and a half; they are planning on getting engaged. The final score: the Anti-Valentine’s girls one, boys zero!