Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman

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Hey sunshine, can I get your number? p 41

There once was a boy.

There once was a boy who sat in the desk behind me during sixth grade. If it had been a century earlier he would have pulled my pigtails or dipped them in ink.

There once was a boy who called me Sunshine. I have thought of this nickname all these years. Pleased that even though I was not blond, but rather had red ringlets, he still felt compelled to call me by this name. Every time he said it I blushed.

There once was a boy who excelled at everything: sports and studies. He played football and scored touchdowns and saw how the crowds parted for him. His future was bright.

There once was a boy who liked to read and got excited about a book he found at home abandoned by his older brothers. There was a new world waiting to be discovered, one different from the one he knew. This one was filled with boys and fighting and gangs like family.

There once was a boy who lent me a copy of The Outsiders. I read it in a hurry, gobbling up these new words and characters and lives I had never even imagined. It blew my mind in the best way possible. When I closed the book, saddened by the turn of events, I felt like I had crossed some invisible bridge.

There once was a boy who grew older and became bored with life. He tackled everything that came his way—nothing could stop him. He looked for other challenges and ways to laugh; ways to feel popular and wanted. He was king of the mountain.

There once was a boy who schemed in art class. Middle school held less interest for him, so he turned his attention elsewhere. He put rubber cement on my seat and I walked around with signs on my back. He ruined my clothes, and for a time, my life.

There once was a boy who became bored with sports and high school and friends. He gave it all up, insisted he hadn’t wanted it anyway. He found new people to run around with and became, for a time, an outsider himself.

There once was a boy who did all of these things and more. Who knows where he is now, what he has become, what he reads, who he loves… Perhaps he thinks to himself before crawling under the covers at night: there once was a girl.

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