Que Sera Sera

So here's a treat

hilton head, 1989, originally uploaded by Sarah Brown.

I was going through old teenage photos to use for stuff for the upcoming UK Cringe book launch, and stumbled across this classic bershon specimen. Twelve year old me, forced to endure the unspeakable atrocities of a family beach vacation. No I will not smile for your photo, DAD. GOD!

How do you like that swimsuit? I thought I was pretty hot shit in that get up, because it had a little spaghetti strap that went around the neck that you could attach or not, and my mom told me I could leave it off if I wanted. Probably due to the fact that I had just started having periods and being a very mature, even-tempered woman, one with a monkey face and furiously back-combed bangs.

How cute is my little brother here, all ready to assist you with any gosh darn thing you might need? Golly! The annoying part of being nearly seven years apart was that while I was in the full throes of teenage agony and unattractiveness, both inside and out, he was all missing front teeth and saying cute as fuck things like, “I’m thorry, Thithter!” One time I was really giving my all to a knock down, drag out fight with my parents, screaming, slamming doors, packing a bag, the whole nine yards, and my brother came in all sniffly and worried and gave me his teddy bear to take with me. Now it makes me want to hug him, but at the time I could have knocked his adorable block off for upstaging my rage so deftly.

This trip was an unexpected treat for our family. My grandmother had been very sick and living with us for the past year, which had been a horrible, horrible year for so many reasons, as well as my first (miserable) year of middle school, and then she died that June. We were all sad and drained and completely wiped out, and her best friend and her husband very generously sent all four of us for a week in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We swam with dolphins and ate junk food and spent all day on the beach and one rainy day, when I’d read both Baby-Sitters Club Super Specials I brought with me, my parents dropped us off at a movie theater and let us go see Batman. I was torn between being excited that I was being allowed to see my first PG-13 movie in a theater, on my own, and being outraged that my five year old brother was getting to see his at the same time.

I also spent the majority of this vacation walking twenty feet behind or in front of my family at all times, just in case any cool people were out and saw us and thought I was with them. I’m sure my parents were very relieved and thankful for this gesture.

This all came full circle seven years later, after I’d just finished my freshman year of college, and we took a vacation to Disney World. (I’m not sure why you’d take a 13 year old and a 19 year old to Disney World, but we actually had a really good time.) I distinctly remember walking down a street in fake Paris in EPCOT with my mom, calling behind us for Stephen to hurry up, and suddenly she said, “Oh god, it’s started.” And I said, What, what’s started? And she said, “The minute you finally left adolescence and started being a decent, normal human being again, he’s begun.”

Of course I wasn’t yet too much of a decent, normal human being to get in a Nelson-esque “Ha ha!”

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