Alexandria Martinshore is a beautiful 18-year-old girl. Like… movie star beautiful… like… so beautiful you’d Google her if you could, just to click through photographs of her, photographs that you’ve already seen a million times but with hopes that you’ll find one you’ve never seen before so you can stare at her even more.
She is of Italian descent and speaks fluent Italian when she is feisty and angry, though always righteously, never aggressively. She has long black hair that’s as shiny and straight as a cool running stream, and she always smells like lavender. She doesn’t need to wear loud jewelry to distract you from her smile because it’s straight and she never needed braces, and she sews all of her own clothes, which of course always fit, or makes dresses from men’s shirts she finds at Salvation Army, where she shopped before it was cool.
Alexandria has beautiful big dark eyes, dark as caves, galaxies are sparking in those eyes, and she never has to wear any makeup. She doesn’t know she’s beautiful and is nice to everyone. But not too nice. She never gets walked on, and she never gets taken advantage of.
Alexandria, or Alex, as everyone calls her—because androgynous names for girls are cool as fuck and when you are cool as fuck you are named things like Bobbi with an i or Teddy with a y or Alex with an e, if you are born their perfect baby girl—is also, like, Harvard smart.
But, you should also know… Alex’s parents are dead. Yeah… it’s a really sad story actually. Her sophomore year of high school, Alex was in a car crash with her idyllic, loving parents. They were coming home from the Opera, where they went after their volunteer shift feeding hungry children at the soup kitchen.
It was a dark and stormy night, and the car soared off a cliff in Arizona. The parents died after the car blew up in a gasping fireball that couldn’t be put out for hours, but miraculously, Alex survived. Because she is a survivor. And she now lives with her 10 equally beautiful, Italian-speaking, older brothers at their central air-conditioned house where they all have their own bedrooms.
Her generous, gorgeous brothers are very protective of her and take her to school every day. Alex is now a senior at Rydell High, a new student this year, and though she is haunted by this tragedy of her parents, quietly brooding under her long lashes with unspeakable pain you basic bitches can’t even imagine… she tries out for the girl’s volleyball team. She makes the team and quickly becomes its humble star. A quiet leader. A lone wolf that everyone wishes to follow—or, well, fuck. Nicely. Lovingly. In a way that promises to call her the next morning to make sure she’s OK with everything.
Boys and girls and men and women openly stare at her as she carries her team to the state championships; they stare at her long Italian legs, which are evenly tanned from a summer spent reading books in an apple tree, and perfectly defined beneath her shapely J-Lo bubble bottom, cupped in tight spandex red shorts. They stare at her in awe.
Alex, though clearly the dark horse for most popular girl at Rydell, doesn’t pay much attention to that stuff. When she is awarded the title of Homecoming Queen, she writes a column in the school paper—because she’s quite a talented writer, too—about how royalty is not something her heart feels comfortable participating in and we, ladies, should all feel like queens on such a special evening. She is so wise and intelligent and knows that shit is stupid. After all, she’s been forced to life in a way no one should ever have to by age 18.
That mysteriousness is part of what gets her the lead role in the school musical later that year. At Rydell, musicals are cool, not just something the kids who couldn’t make the basketball or swimming teams do.
As the lead, Alex had all the best singing parts, which, for some reason, include any song that comes on the radio of a beat-up red Buick being driven thousands of miles away by a lonely non-Italian girl named Jackie.
Alex was especially talented at singing defiant break up fuck-you songs, which she would purposely sing at one boy in the audience. The boy, the beautiful, sculpted-like-a-grown-man, floppy haired boy, who broke her heart at the beginning of the year… whom she somehow found time to date between winning volleyball championships and hanging out with her award-winning Teen Beat older brothers.
This boy—whose name isn’t really that important, but whose jawline most certainly is—cheated on Alex one stupid night when he was stupid drunk with his stupid ex-girlfriend, who, by the way, is really not nice to Alex, but whom Alex is still respectful toward because she’s just that kind of person.
Sometimes Alex wears goth clothes. Sometimes she wears hot pants with high heels. Sometimes she wears hip hugging jeans that show off her protruding, but not unhealthy, hip bones, though that’s totally not at all why she’s wearing them. They’re just comfortable.
Alex’s beauty is effortless… and her personality is unfailingly loveable… and her love life is unfairly hurt but not ever self-sacrificial… and her nails are long… and her parents are dead but not really missed… and her life feels safe, despite all that… and she is SO interesting… and her scholarships are full ride… and she is never, ever desperate… and her car is not a Buick… and her life is not real.
She’s a ghost in my senior pictures. A phantom floating beneath my cap and gown. An undercurrent of escape in my journals. There, at the Applebee’s, piling spinach dip and stinky buffalo wings into your backseat, talking to you about the weather and Old Man Sam’s hogs. There, in my desperation to “get the fuck out of this place.” There, between my unsaid fury at how simple and stupid my own life seemed. There, is Alex.
What you are running from is more interesting than—and can be determined by—what you think you are running to.