This week I began watching the Netflix series “Firefly Lane”. It’s a story of friendship between two teenage girls (growing up in the 70’s) through to their early forties.
This show has triggered memories of my teenage years and young adulthood. The main characters Kate and Tully are relatable. Kate is a bespectacled simple girl, unnoticeable to her peers. She’s not cool and not attractive to the boys. Tully on the other hand is the complete opposite. I see myself in Kate and my childhood friend G, in Tully.
When I was seven we moved on a new street closer to school. That summer I met a girl named G who lived across the lane. She was almost 2 years older than me. We became friends and later she became friends with my older sister. As the years went by the bond my sister and I had for this friend was exceptional. G became part of our family. My relatives all got to know her and invited her to many family affairs. In highschool she was popular with both the girls and boys. After highschool she went to hairdressing school. By 20 years old she was already working for a high end hair salon downtown and making good money. Her social life became exciting. My sister and I were in awe of her life, her trendy hairstyles and clothes. It was the disco era. She knew all the “in” disco clubs. We were lucky to go with her sometimes. When we would attend the traditional church dance halls she was always the one being asked to dance. Its funny, but I never felt jealous.
My years in highschool were far from exciting, I felt like a wallflower, invisible. My parents did not encourage us to participate in any sports or after school activities. They wanted us home. I didn’t have any friends my age except for the last year of school.
Back in 2018, I found the courage to prove, to myself, that I was not a wallflower amongst my peers anymore. That year I received an invitation to attend my highschool reunion. The list of people attending were unknown to me except for 20 or so but nonetheless enough for me to go. It was an outing after all. Why not?
The day of the reunion I tried every dress in my closet, none seemed to fit well. I arrived late! Everyone was already seated. As I entered the room people gazed my way. This can make anyone uncomfortable but surprisingly, I didn’t feel embarrassed. Seated at my assigned table were two familiar faces. During the course of the evening I circulated and chatted with those I knew. The reunion committee organized a silent auction to raise money for a charitable foundation. I checked out the items and placed a bid for a beautiful Georgio Armani bag. One of the attending prior students was a fashion stylist for Armani in New York and he donated the bag for the auction. Just before the closing of the auction I placed another bid. At the end of the auction, the purse was declared mine. Unknowingly, the purse was the highest priced item on the auction table and my bid generated a very nice amount for the foundation. The organizers were very grateful for my generosity. It got everyone’s attention. I no longer felt like a wallflower amongst my ex highschool peers! While I was waiting to pay for my purchase a fellow male student engaged me in a flirtatious conversation. He pointed out that I must have been one of the “Good Girls” in highschool since he had no recollection of me. Point made.
I used to be like the Kate of Firefly Lane, for many, many years that followed. That all began to change when I met Maia, my beautiful young friend. She introduced me to a new world and helped me embrace my true nature.