That was when we were waiting for people to show up to go to a campfire, but no one had shown up except for us and another friend of hers who doesn't like me, so I was letting them talk and tuning out into my own little world of Neue Deutsche Härte. She tried to think of other people she could invite but several people were out of town and no one else knew who she was because she's always gone. I mentioned that the ward just wasn't as cohesive and didn't do so much stuff together since Debbie left. Then Mackenzie dropped a bombshell: "I don't actually love Debbie."
"What?" I said. "How -"
"Oh, I have nothing against her as a person," she said. "It's just I'm always hearing 'Debbie is so nice -'"
"Maybe if you were nice, people would say that about you too."
"Oh, I'm not jealous, I'm just tired of it."
All this drama simmering under the surface for who knows how long, and I had no idea. Wow. But anyway, no one else showed up so it was just the three of us going. On the way there, she predictably blared Taylor Swift from the car speakers loudly enough to cause hearing damage and I had to turn my own music up as high as it went to keep hearing it because as much as I like Taylor Swift, that wasn't the mood I was in. Then we got there and I took my headphones off and acted sociable, but she wouldn't let it go. Every time I said something under my breath she thought I was singing Rammstein again. For example, she said something that reminded me of a bit from the BBC's talking animal sketches, so I started quoting it under my breath and she gave me another weird look and said, "Maybe you shouldn't listen to that."
She kept getting annoyed at me (as she often does) for speaking too quietly like that. "I feel like your voice is just this frail, weak wispy thing," she said, "that could just be blown away in a moment by... anything." That's just the voice I was born with and she can't accept it.
But anyway, when we got there Mackenzie and her friend set about setting up the fire, rejoicing that there were no boys around to tell them they were doing it wrong, and Mackenzie went off gathering up little sticks and I wanted to be helpful so I went off gathering up little sticks too. But she got back first and she said she had enough sticks and mine weren't needed. Dejected, I tossed them in a little pile by the fire anyway, feeling that they were an apt metaphor for my entire life's work. But karma was swift in its execution for a change, as the fire died down not long afterward and she was forced to start putting those exact sticks on it. "Wow," I said, "it looks like my sticks are coming in handy after all."
"Thank you, Christopher," she said through gritted teeth and a forced smile.
I watched her put some more on and then couldn't resist adding for good measure, "It sure is convenient that these sticks were already lying here."
She looked me in the eyes across the fire and said, "I'm going to murder you."
But I'm still here, because underneath her mean callous heartless exterior, she is kind, loyal, fun-loving, phenomenally intelligent, and so on. And being afraid of her isn't even a big deal because really, it's just the same kind of high that normal people get from roller coasters and horror movies. Everyone needs a bit of fear in their lives or they feel unnatural. But anyway, a couple days later after ward prayer she and some other friend were lying in the grass talking about intellectual stuff and I invited myself to sit nearby and listen, and at one point he was like, "When things say 'Names have been changed', do you think they really change the names or just use the real names and say that to throw you off? Because who would know?"
And Mackenzie turned and flashed me an enormous grin and said, "Yeah, who changes names??"
(It was funny because I change her name on my blog. For all the good that did me.)