Authors: A.E. Woodward
To Ernie for all her love and encouragement.
What is perfection? Does it even exist? Is it attainable? Millions of people spend countless hours in search of something perfect. Perfect dress, perfect shoes, perfect haircut, perfect job. But mostly we spend our time searching for the perfect partner. We all crave someone to share all of life's experiences with. Someone to grow old with.
Growing up, my mother was unrelenting in her lessons on the importance of perfection. I had to have the perfect hair, find the perfect boyfriend, and choose the perfect college. I found the more my mother pressured me, the more I pushed back. Eventually I found myself rebelling and building my life in order to challenge her morals and values. It was the ultimate slap in the face.
Regardless, I was happy with my life; the multiple aneurysms it gave my mother were just an added bonus. Everything was going great for me until one day it wasn't. Maybe things weren't as fabulous as I thought. Maybe I wanted the American Dream. Maybe, just maybe, I was my mother's daughter after all.
This is the story of how I found my perfection. The road to where I am now was treacherous and bumpy, and far from perfect. And while my life may not seem desirable to most, I realize now that that's what makes it special. Things are perfect only in the eye of the beholder. It's the uniqueness that drives us. Life isn't about what is perfect for everybody else; it's about what is perfect for you.
To understand everything, we have to go back to the beginning. So my story starts with a glimpse into my past, about twenty years earlier, along the coast of Maine:
Bang! I opened my eyes just in time to see the flash of lightning illuminate my awesome pink bedroom. I glanced at the alarm clock on my nightstand: 2:05 am. I could hear the sound of the raindrops pounding on the roof. I loved thunderstorms, they were one of my favorite things in life. Soccer, thunderstorms, and New Kids on the Block; that was all this ten year old needed. I giggled to myself as I rolled towards the wall to go back to sleep. Seconds later I was interrupted by a finger poking the small of my back. I had almost forgotten that it was Saturday; sleep over night. I looked over my shoulder and squinted to see if it was Tyler or Shane. Another flash of lightning lit up my room, and I could see it was Shane.
"What?" I asked.
"I...Umm...I hate thunderstorms" he stuttered. I rolled over towards him and noticed him nervously rubbing his hands together. Shane and I had been friends for over a year by then, and I was beginning to learn how to read his emotions just by the look on his face. At that moment, I could see that he really was scared.
I threw back my comforter and patted my bed, "Get in."
He shivered as he slid in. I couldn't help but feel bad for him, even if I just wanted to tease him for this. "It's fine Shane." I muttered as I threw my arm around him.
He snuggled down, and I felt him finally relax. "Thanks Em."
"No problem. Anything for my best friend."
I jumped as I felt something hit my face. Groaning, I squeezed my eyes shut; I was
ready to wake up. It felt as though I had just found my way to bed. I fumbled to remove whatever was smothering my face.
"Get your ass out of bed!" the familiar voice boomed.
"Holy shit… do you have to yell?" I flung the towel from my face and rolled back over towards the wall of my room. Squeezing my eyes shut I willed myself to drift back to sleep.
Sunlight flooded my bedroom as the curtains were flung open. Squinting, I gazed over my shoulder, and through my drunken haze I saw Shane towering over my bed.
"Get up," he muttered, grabbing the edge of my comforter flinging it to my feet.
I shut my eyes again in an attempt to block the sunlight whilst my hands blindly grabbed for the blankets. "But it's Sunday," I moaned, "and I'm pretty sure I'm still drunk."
My hands connected with the covers, I struggled to pull them back over my legs for a few seconds before finally realizing Shane had the other end. It was useless.
"I'm bored," he whined, tugging on my arm. "We're going out."
"Oh my god!" I sat up defeated and dropped my head into my hands. There was no use. Shane always started his mornings, even after a night filled with drinking, freakishly early. He had always said that insomnia was his version of a hangover. Whatever. I just didn't understand why I had to pay for it.
"What time is it?"
"Doesn't matter," he answered, tossing my sweatshirt at me. "Get dressed we're all going to Boston."
"Boston?" My feet hit the hardwood floor and I struggled to maintain my balance. Yes, I was most definitely still hammered. "What the hell is in Boston?"
I rolled my eyes, throwing my sweatshirt over my head. "You have got to be kidding me. We can do that right down the street."
"Not the stupid kiddy go-karts," I could tell he was becoming exasperated, "I'm talking the ones where you have to take a drivers test and wear a flame retardant suit."
"Fun!" I oozed sarcastically, whipping my hair up into a loose bun. Stumbling out into the hallway of our apartment, I wanted nothing more than to be curled up in my bed. "Well, you better buy me Starbucks."
Shane motioned towards the counter where four venti Starbucks cups were already perched in an obsessive fashion; neatly lined up in alphabetical order by our initials.
He smiled smugly, "What is this, amateur hour? Of course I got coffee!"
"Yeah, but the real question is did you get my order right?"
I grabbed the cup and took a tentative swig. I savored the velvety sweetness as it warmed my tender stomach. I was enjoying the moment when my attention shifted toward the movement coming from down the hallway. Watching Tyler and Rob groggily stumble into the kitchen made me giggle. I felt better knowing that I wasn't alone in my annoyance for my early morning wake up call. They were silent as they grabbed their cups.
"Give me a little credit Em. I've been getting your lazy ass coffee for 12 years now."
"Oh and don't forget waking us up at the crack of dawn," Rob lifted his coffee to a toast.
"Yeah you're the reason we need the coffee," Tyler added.
The three of us pounded our paper cups together in a display of solidarity.