The Illusion of Fame

My sister was on homecoming court two years in a row.

For many, that means nothing, but when you grow up in middle America (where the best of life happens under the Friday night lights), homecoming court makes celebrities out of seventeen year-olds.

I was in the seventh grade then. And I knew I wanted to follow her. This was before she breezed through college and landed a lifetime career and found her husband. In the seventh grade, I saw my sister sitting next to the cutest boy in the school, atop a decorated convertible, circling the football stadium for the whole town to applaud, and I wanted to be her.

Really, I wanted her fame.

Except, I never made it to the final five when I was seventeen. My friends rode the convertibles with the cute boys while I leaned against the fence that lined the stadium track and watched. Celebrity evaded me.

I’ve since distilled high school down to one box of photo albums, varsity letters, yearbooks and an old pair of Birkenstocks, but the memory of my friends circling the football field while their names reverberated through the PA system into the autumn-night sky still hangs in my memory.

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