I can do this. I can do this. My palms, wet with nervous sweat, clenched onto a copy of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as I drew closer to the front of the checkout line at Borders. All right, I just need to calm down. All I have to do is walk up to the cashier and hand them the book and my twenty. That’s it; I don’t even have to speak a word. With one more shift I was at the front of the line. I waited anxiously to hear the dreadful word I knew would come. “Next.” My heart began to jump wildly in my chest and, closing my eyes, I took one last deep breath to muster all of my courage. But as I took my first brave step forward I realized that the cashier standing at the now-vacant counter was a boy around my age with the face of a Tommy Hilfiger model. Oh no. I can’t do this. I made a U-turn back around the checkout line, discarded my book on the nearest display table, and ran out the door to meet my mom in the getaway car.
The next day, after, with a roll of her eyes, my mom went back into Borders to purchase my book, I sat on my bed with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants once again clenched between my hands. Only this time, it was not because of my heightened anxiety but rather because of my deep interest in the drastically contrasting personalities of the four best friend characters, specifically one named Bridget. I do not know why I was so drawn to her. After all, I was certainly more like any of the other three girls; Bridget was very tall and thin; I was short and curvy; she preferred to spend her Saturday nights partying; I preferred to spend them in my room getting a head start on my weekend homework; she worked to be ranked number one in skill among her soccer teammates; I worked to be ranked number one in GPA among my school peers. Needless to say, we were quite opposite, but I think that’s what made me so fascinated with her. She would do what I would never imagine doing and never once questioned herself; I was shocked and thrilled by the idea of Bridget sneaking out of soccer camp to party with her friends at the Cantina. I was awed and anxious as she crept to the soccer coach’s cabin in the middle of the night to flirt with her crush. How could she just break all the rules? How could she risk getting caught? What if her father found out? What defiance! What deception! …What bravery! What independence! Bridget had a certain drive and determination that I longed for. She pursued the affection of a certain soccer coach with the highest resolve, not letting camp rules, self-doubt, or even his shockingly handsome face stand in the way. I read for hours straight awaiting the results of her mischievous plans. Would Eric, the handsome soccer coach, give into her seduction? What would happen if he did? Would they get into trouble? Each of her actions left me with my own desires to be spontaneous and rebellious; my own desires to pursue what I wanted without letting anything stand in my way. Certainly all of her plans didn’t end up successful; after finally achieving Eric’s affection, she was left feeling guilty and empty. But the fact that she was willing to risk it all, the fact that she had no doubt in herself and her abilities was something I admired and yearned to obtain.
All right. This time, I can do it. Just think I am Bridget, I am Bridget. It’s one minute at the counter and I’m free…Ok. I reached the counter at the checkout line at Target, placed the separating bar down, and dropped my items on the belt. I walked right up to the somewhat attractive guy working the cashier. “Hi” he said with a grin. I was shocked by his friendliness, but quickly replied with my own “hi.” Wow. This was easy. I even got a normal dialogue started with the guy. Hey, I could really do this. It all seems ridiculously simple now. I leaned on the counter strutting my newly-found confidence as I watched him scan and bag my items. I pulled out my twenty and handed it to him with a smile as he finished. “$15.42” he said after tapping out the amount on the register and waiting for the receipt to print out. As I reached for the bag I heard him say “Oh wait, is this yours?” and turned to see him holding up a polka dot bra that seemed straight from the girls’ section. Oh no. I grabbed my bag, and quickly jogged toward the door pretending not to hear. As I dug in my purse for the keys to my own getaway car, I grinned as I thought, Well at least I got to the counter this time.