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The Virgin

by Jaye Nasir This had happened semi-regularly since I was a kid: some girl, prettier than I was, more well-liked, more easygoing, seemingly less aware, would latch onto me in some class, and make me into her best friend for that year, or term, or whatever. I was sidekick material, lacking definitive qualities, eager to be defined by my proximity to someone else. Whatever the reason, it was better than being ignored. My unconscious awareness of this pattern, though vague, was probably what kept me from being too shocked when Amal, bending against the hierarchy of high school and across our very disparate social circles, took an interest in me. It began only because we ended up, sheerly by chance, sitting two seats down from each other in the waiting room of the Planned Parenthood on Magdalene Street. I had only one headphone in so that I could hear my name when it was called, and a book open in my lap from which I kept rereading the same simple sentence, unable to comprehend it. I had

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