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Sarah Dessen grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing. She is the author of several novels, including Someone Like You and The Truth About Forever. A motion picture based on her first two books, entitled How to Deal, was released in 2003. Her seventh book, Just Listen, was published in the summer of 2005. She lives in North Carolina.
From Just Listen
I taped the commercial back in April, before anything happened, and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks ago, it had started running, and suddenly, I was everywhere.
On the rows of screens hanging over the ellipticals at the gym. On the monitor that have at the post office that's supposed to distract you from how long you've been waiting in line. And now here, on the TV in my room, as I sat at the edge of my bed, fingers clinched into my palms, trying to make myself get up and leave.
"It's that time of year again.."
I stared at myself on the screen as I was five months earlier, looking for any difference, some visible proof of what had happened to me. First, though, I was struck by the sheer oddness of seeing myself without benefit of a mirror or photograph. I had never gotten used to it, even after all this time.
"Football games,' I watched myself say. I was wearing a baby-blue cheerleader uniform, hair pulled back tight into a ponytail, and clutching a huge megaphone, the kind nobody ever used anymore, emblazoned with a K.
"Study hall." Cut to me in a serious plaid skirt and brown cropped sweater, which I remembered feeling itchy and so wrong to be wearing just as it was getting warm, finally.
"And of course, social life." I leaned in, staring at the me on screen, now outfitted in jeans and a glittery tee and seated on a bench, turning to speak this line while a group of other girls chattered silently behind me.
The director, fresh-faced and just out of film school, had explained to me the concept of this, his creation. "The girl who has everything," he'd said, moving his hands in a tight, circular motion, as if that was all it took to encompass something so vast, not to mention vague. Clearly, it meant having a megaphone, some smarts, and a big group of friends. Now, I might have dwelled on the explicit irony of this last one, but the on-screen me was already moving on.
Copyright © 2006 by Sarah Dessen