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2005dec13. I’ve been going through all of my stuff and throwing out a lot of it. I came across a pair of barretts with long pink ribbons attached to them.

In your typical American-based high school, there is a one-time social event called “Powder Puff Football.” In a wacky reversal of outdated gender roles, the women play football, and a few men act as cheerleaders. I was one of the cheerleaders, not because of any deep-rooted school spirit issues, but because I wanted to see how I looked in a skirt. The cheerleaders taught us several of their cheers (“Happy ... happy ... happy ... happy shine it out WOO!”), and I taught them how to draw wicked flames on a few of their peppy posters (“Roast the opposition alive!!! Feast on their children and/or bones according to availability!!!!”).

After suiting up in borrowed outfits, three of us – the jock and the two geeks – started making our way down the hall to the football field. A female student came running up to us and said “I brought some barretts for one of you to wear!” I volunteered, since I was the closest to her. I knelt down, and she put them in my hair. “There,” she said, and we continued our walk to the field.

And now ... years later ... it still feels like the purest form of sentiment I’ve ever known. There’s nothing after it, nothing before it, it just exists. The barretts went into the “keep” pile.