“I had wanted to be like Camilla as soon as I saw her. I loved the way she looked—like someone older, from a movie—and the way she didn’t seem to care what anyone else at school thought of anything. At first I couldn’t see why she had chosen me to be her friend. Then I realized that we already had some things in common: our complete unconsciousness of current slang or fads, for example, and our real or feigned uninterest in talking to anyone at our school. These were things about myself that had always embarrassed me, things that I used to hope would one day magically change. But while my oblivion and friendlessness were beyond my control, it was obvious that Camilla had deliberately chosen hers. She had ignored Elvis in favor of Frank Sinatra, classical music and French songs that I had not even known existed, whereas my own unfamiliarity with popular music was inexcusable—just a blank. She wore her long, straight, blond hair differently from the other girls at our school, not because her hair was wild and simply wouldn’t do what theirs did, but because, in her opinion, their pin curls looked stupid. And although she lived in a brownstone on Fifth Avenue—a perfectly acceptable location as far as our classmates’ parents were concerned—she hated the Upper East Side as much as I did, and didn’t mind the short walk or bus ride through the park to where I lived.”
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