Role Reversal
by Amara Chang

450 words (3 minutes)

      [Lia Delisle is sitting slouchily in a chair. There is a stack of about six or seven papers in her lap, and she is reading one of them. She sighs.] What am I gonna do? I mean...oh, this is just...craziness! [Lia stands up suddenly and throws the papers down onto the seat of the chair.]

I always thought that Mark and I would be like the stereotypical couple. You see them all the friggin time in the teen magazines and the movies. The girl is supposed to be all superficial and want the guy to be romantic and dote on them constantly. The guy, on the other end of the scale, is supposed to not care. They're laid back about their relationships...actually, about everything.

But this...this is, like, role reversal. Mark does everything the perfect boyfriend should. When we were in the school play together he bought me friggin roses, for chrissake. Once I told him I'd turned fourteen the day before. He's like 'I have to get you a present!' And even after I stressed that we'd only been [makes quotations with her fingers] 'going out' for a week, he shows up the next day with this thing full of Turtles. Flowers and candy, the old cliche. Honest...I would have enjoyed a hug a lot better.

[She sighs wistfully.] It's not like I don't like chocolate or anything. It's all the attention I'm not used to. I've never had anyone do this. It's insane. I don't need the presents. When Mark showed up with that candy...I just wanted to give it back. How was I going to hide it from my family? They don't know I have a boyfriend. It's been a week and I still haven't opened it yet.

[Lia turns back to the chair, picks up the papers, and smacks them with the back of her hand.] Just look at this. A week's worth of emails. "About the movie - whatever it is, I'll come if I'm off. Just tell me where and when to meet you." "Aren't you glad I didn't use Times New Roman?"...that one after I went off on a rant about how ugly that font was. He's even changing fonts for me. "It's too bad we couldn't go together, I would have took you dancing under the stars and to the fireworks." [She pauses and flops back into the chair.] That last one, I guess, was especially...[She searches for the right word.]...hard-hitting. Dancing under the stars. Most girls would keel over with bliss the second they heard that. I feel like such an ingrate. I remember when I was about six, whenever one of my parents gave me a kiss on the cheek I'd...[she wipes her cheek with the back of her hand]...wipe it off. I'd push away any sign of affection. I was just like...just like a little boy.

I don't get this at all. I'm almost ashamed to say that I don't want this attention. And I'm not sure if I like being Mark's girlfriend. [Lia cradles her forehead in her hand] I don't know what to do.

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