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Synopsis

Laugh out loud at the crazy situations Zoe gets herself in. Watch her fumble while she tries to keep up with the culture shock after moving from England to the U.S. Eventually she goes back to Greece to be a fashion model getting herself into more situations and writing letters to her parents as journals of her experiences.


Chapter P. 13

Just Like Starting Over

JUST LIKE STARTING OVER
After living stateside for a few months, the news reported that John Lennon had been shot. I remember this day clearly, not because John Lennon died, but because I accidentally set my hair on fire.
I had long wavy, kinky hair and was blow drying it upstairs in my parent’s bedroom. I could hear my mom sobbing and remembered that Luke and Laura’s wedding day (from General Hospital) was approaching and that today must be the day. My mom was downstairs with a box of tissues watching the news, shaking her head.
“I just can’t believe it,” she cried.
She had been a Beatles fan all her life. She had all their songs memorized, and growing up I would witness Beatlemania as she swung her hips, “Shake it a baby now, shake it a baby, twist and shout, twist and shout……” she sang as she did the “twist” around the house.
I saw smoke coming from the hairdryer and felt my hair get wrapped up inside of it. I screamed at the top of my lungs and unplugged the hair dryer. I ran downstairs with it attached to my hair as the smell of burnt hair engulfed my mom.
“Mom! Mom! My hair’s on fire!” I screamed.
She jumped up and helped me cut the hair out of the hair dryer all while keeping another eye on the television. “I just can’t believe he’s dead,” she rambled on and on. “Who would do something like this? Why? Why?” I suppose I could have said the house was on fire and it wouldn’t have fazed her on a day like this.
“He’s going to prison for life, he is. They’re not going to let him get away with this. Didn’t someone see it coming?”
She cried as she blew her nose in her 100% cotton hanky all the while asking the same questions as if she could have stopped it from happening.
“So tragic, such a shame, this world has gone barmy you know. You can’t trust anybody. Zoe, I worry about you. Don’t ever talk to strangers, oh, and make sure you look both ways before crossing the streets,” as if it had anything to do with John Lennon dying.
So while avoiding strangers and air drying my hair from then on, just like any third grader, I had my eyes set on a new boy. On the playground all the girls flocked to him like he was Ricky Martin. Whatever it was, he had it: charm, charisma, swagger and all the girl’s attention. Wherever he went they followed, like his little disciples. He was tall (as tall as a third grader could get), dark, and handsome. I would have my first Asian boyfriend.
However, the relationship would be short lived due to the fact that half the classroom was dating him. I’m not even sure if we spoke during our brief affair but I wasn’t going to be the other woman, so I ended my one day affair with my Asian gigolo boyfriend. This was not a good start to my dating career.
Back in England, I briefly “went with” as they say in America, a young boy named Ian. He was the opposite of the current boyfriend who had black hair. Ian was Irish, had blond hair with blue eyes and a mischievous smile. His idea of a date was meeting me at the park and the both of us peeing in the sand pit or behind the bushes. I guess my standards were low from the very beginning.
Outside on the playground during recess, the kids played this game that was new to me that I quite enjoyed. It involved four people passing a ball around, which was a good start to learning playground games since the only game I knew was hop scotch. During the game something or somebody made me laugh quite hard and I regrettably peed my pants. Horrified, I calmly excused myself and went to the nurse’s office.
“Oh dear, what happened?” she asked.
I told her that I had stepped in a puddle and splashed myself. The nurse examined me and looked a little skeptical as it wasn’t raining at the time.
“Right…….,” she said nodding her head.
I was so nervous, but I stood my ground and stuck to my story. She ran her fingers inside the seam of my jeans and said, “Oh, yes, you splashed yourself. Let me call your mom to get her to bring you some fresh clothes.”
My mom rushed to my school and dropped off some clean clothes. She was the perfect housewife, cooking and cleaning, folding and ironing making me a casualty of General Hospital and The Young and the Restless.
As I watched it with her, I never knew so much drama could happen on a daily basis. My life, even with moving to America, suddenly became boring. I would have given up my American dream to go and live with Victor Newman in a heartbeat. My mom would sit in anticipation, biting her lip, waiting for Victor Newman’s next big decision as if everything depended on it. Then it would be Friday and we would always be left hanging until Monday and she would let out a big sigh.
I made a couple of friends in the neighborhood. One of them had two fathers which was a foreign concept to me. In England, divorce wasn’t popular at that time and so step parents were never talked about.
At least you get more gifts, I thought.
Our next door neighbors came over and they invited us to their church, and it was just a matter of time before my mom was being baptized in a lake. I knew she was serious because she couldn’t swim and was afraid of water. I started to go to bible retreats and Sunday school which I quite liked. “Jesus loves me” was the theme song. Church became a regular event, and I quickly realized that this was a good way for me to meet boys. So church became a priority, sometimes three times a week.
Although we spent a lot of time with our neighbors, my father wasn’t a big fan of church. So he spent a lot of time working on projects at work like building rocket propellers. He had gotten his PhD in neuroscience and studied explosives –which explained the problems with the septic tank under his house in Greece. When he was home and not working, he was conjuring up some new experiment on his computer. This time her name was Eliza, the digital girlfriend. He would sit for hours having conversations with her.
“How are you today, Eliza?” He’d ask with his morning coffee and cigarette.
“I am very well Khristos,” she would say in her mechanical voice, “how are you today, Khristos?”
I could hear him laughing in his office completely satisfied with what he had just invented while asking her inappropriate questions. And so every morning we woke up to the voice of Eliza, the digital girlfriend.
The questions were endless and soon my dad’s computer (which he nicknamed DGS for digital genitals) was getting on my mom’s nerves.
“Why don’t you like her?” my father would ask.
“Oh Khristos, it’s just not my cup of tea,” she answered. Until finally she had had enough with Eliza and ordered him to break up with her.
“You’ve gone barmy,” she said, “Do you realize that she’s not real?”
“Oh Ellen, calm down, don’t get your knickers in a twist!” he’d say, “It’s just a game.”
So that was the end of his relationship with Eliza. We never spoke of her again.

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Lucee Santini

Deerfield Beach, USA

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