Her clothes looked expensive. She assured me she didn’t spend much; the Alexander Wang sweater was bought “massively on sale” and under $100; her eyes batted and glistened. “But the shoes,” she said, lifting her foot up as if checking for shit, “these were expensive. I love them.” They seemed expensive.
Olive told me that her high school allowed you to declare a major and pick all your classes. She was undeclared but took a lot of theatre classes. She still wasn’t sure if she would declare as English or Theatre, but she had to choose soon because it was a requirement for first-semester seniors. She had enough English credits to graduate as an English major, but she might be able to persuade the dean to let her graduate as a Theatre major. She frowned a bit as she said this and bounced in place on her toes. “Sorry. Ballet habit.” Then she told me she really wanted to go to NYU for Theatre, but Boston University would be a shoe-in because of family and she could attend for free, basically. She frowned. I was going to go to community college. I was attracted to her.
We exchanged phone numbers and I left before I had a sixth Bud Light. The host thanked me for coming and playing the Wilco song. Olive said we would definitely hang out and gave me a hug. She wore a perfume I didn’t know but the host did. She asked Olive what it was and as I pulled away, Olive winked and said “Commes Des Garcons” with a modest smile. I thought she winked at me, but she was looking right past me. “It’s a limited edition for Opening Ceremony,” she said. The host ooh-ed and came between Olive and me. I walked away taking deep breaths, worried I would be pulled over by Newport Beach police, feeling exhilarated.
We talked on the phone the next day for several hours. She was immersed in things I’d only heard of before, like Debutantes, season tickets to the Orange County Performing Arts Center, new Volvo sedans, Pescetarianism, Whole Foods, art show openings, family alumni in Ivy League universities, famous relatives who were active or once active in the art world, the time her parents almost sent her to boarding school, the time she felt really depressed when her parents were in the middle of the divorce and argued over who would get her, and how much the other parent should pay in child support (Mira wanted Todd to pay $500 more in child support, plus Mira would keep the house, and Todd would buy two new cars for both of them; he only bought one, Mira planned to sue), the ecstasy of a lush terry cotton bath robe in a five star hotel, muesli. She lived with her mother in Turtle Rock, where they shared a brand new Volvo S60 sedan, in dark charcoal.
What did one do at a Debutante party, I wondered. “Ball,” she corrected. “It’s a Ball.”