1.] You're Not Qualified to be a Wingman (e)

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1.] You're Not Qualified to be a Wingman

There was one night in the middle of my older sister’s senior year of high school in which she showed us what could have possibly been the true Georgia Mathers. The events of that night were under lock and key, known only by my parents, two Jessamine cops, and the family attorney. Not wanting to risk the family’s reputation, they kept what really happened hush-hush, hoping to finagle their way out of the whole mess. Even I wasn’t allowed to know what was really happening, keeping me sealed from their conversations concerning what exactly it was that my sister had done that night.

What my parents didn’t know, was that I had long ago discovered what seemed to be Georgia’s alter ego, the one that had ultimately landed her in this mess.

While they thought that their eldest daughter spent her weeknights after all of her theater rehearsals and study sessions in her bedroom playing girl-power music while doing homework, Georgia was doing quite the opposite. Her real doings often went undetected by our parents because Georgia’s sting was not just limited to the stage.

She had been playing them fools for years, acting like the robotic version of the perfect daughter during the day and then being a whirlwind of mass chaos and destruction at night. Whenever her demanding extracurricular activities were over and that form of herself was tucked away, she traded her knee socks for fishnets and nude lipgloss for red lipstick. Everyone thought she let loose through her musicals and running track. Truth was, she forgot all about her problems through whatever it was she did after sneaking out her bedroom window and into the dark.

All of those years, I had watched from behind the curtains in the library. I would open them just a crack, knowing that my sister would be coming down the tree at some point in the night. I’d watch, waiting for her to jump the last three feet of the tall tree and then look around as she fixed her leather jacket. Sometimes she caught me, raising one finger to her lips before blowing a kiss through the glass. Then, before I knew it, Georgia disappeared off to a world I would never know and wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to.

In the protection of the library, I never understood why Georgia was so eager to leave behind the life she lived. From an outsider’s point of view, she had quite the life: beautiful, charming, lots of friends, a solid education at a preparatory school in southern California, with a nice inheritance awaiting her in the near future. We had been nothing but privileged and I often thought that Georgia failed to see that. What my sister was doing (the sneaking off and coming back after a weekend away with no contact for days on end), only put her in danger of ruining the reputation she had already worked so hard to establish.

However, it seemed that even when Georgia managed to take that reputation and smash it into smithereens, our parents were there to patch everything together. Money and influence went a long way in our town, enough so that covering up charges for public intoxication and assaulting an officer simply disappeared into thin air.

After that one mishap, that one night my sister spent in the slammer, everything changed. No more escapes out the window, no more fishnets, no more smoking on the roof in the middle of the night. That Georgia vanished, never to be seen again.

I never understood what happened to that other side. I wasn’t sure where she went, but the only thing I cared about was finding out why that alter ego existed in the first place.

My first hint at an answer came in the midst of a conversation with my father just days after my own high school graduation. Sitting in the joint restaurant at The Harrington, I watched as my father adjusted the gold cuff links on his navy suit and reached for the wine glass. Cupping the rounded bottom with the palm of his hand, he pressed the edge to his lip, taking a large gulp of red wine. When he replaced it on the table, he looked at me. “How are you feeling, Adrienne, now that you’ve graduated?”

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