Lucy waves my comment away. “That’s just coloring, staying inside the lines. Me doing actual art is out of the question. Seriously, I can’t even draw a stick figure.”
I laugh. “Everyone can draw a stick figure.”
“Not me.” I give her a skeptical look; her eyes get wide, her voice overdramatic as she continues. “I’m not kidding. I tried to draw a stick figure on the board once in middle school, and I accidentally gave it this gigantic…”
She hesitates a moment. I have no idea what she’s going to say, but I definitely don’t expect her to blurt out, “…penis. No one in school would stop talking about it. It scarred me for life.”
I shake my head, sure I heard her wrong. “You gave your stick figure a penis?”
“Not on purpose. I was drawing without looking, and—” She grabs a napkin and fumbles through her bag till she finds a pen. “Here, I’ll show you.”
First she draws a long line down the length of the napkin for the stick-figure body, and then she adds the head and arms, all while deliberately not looking down at her work. It looks fine, if a little sloppy—until she gets to the legs. She starts at the bottom, where the feet would be, and draws one diagonal line upward, then another…
But they don’t meet at the right place, where the body ends. Instead they meet about an inch above that, leaving the stick figure with a line extending between its legs like a long…well…penis.
I’m kind of struck speechless.
“Oh my God,” I finally get out. I’m doing my best to hold back my laughter, but the thought of this stick figure on the blackboard of a middle-school classroom…
“I know.” Lucy’s tone is still melodramatic, but there’s a giggle stuck in there too. “It’s either a penis, a tail, or my stick figure just drank an extra-extra-large soda and couldn’t hold it any longer. I actually think the penis is the best option of the three.”
As she speaks, Lucy’s giggles progress to full-out belly laughs. It’s not that funny, but I guess laughter really is contagious, because pretty soon I’ve given in and started laughing too.
“Yeah,” Lucy says between laugh-snorts, “I clearly have no sense of visual spacing. Or common sense. Or self-preservation.”
“It sounds exactly like something I would have done in middle school,” I tell her. Except I’d never have the guts to tell the story to someone I’d only just met, even if she was as nice and laid-back as Lucy. In fact, I’ve done my best to block most of my cringe-worthy moments from my conscious memory entirely.
That thought depresses me a little, though I’m not sure why. It’s enough to chase away the last of my laughter, and Lucy’s calming down too. Apparently we’ve made enough noise to rouse Doug’s curiosity—he’s heading over here, with a gigantic chocolate-chip cookie in hand as an excuse. The second he sees the napkin he says, “Should have known. So Lucy’s telling you about her unusually strong, uh…attraction to certain parts of the male anatomy?”
Doug ignores Lucy and says to me, “Make sure she tells you the one about the cock-and-balls Christmas lights.”
The what? “I’m…not sure I’m ready for that one,” I manage.