I know what you mean when you talk about that fast feeling in your brain. It’s happened to me before, too. I’ve never told you this—or anyone, really—but I used to steal shit all the time. Mostly cheap earrings and things I figured nobody would miss. A pack of gum; a lighter; infinite tubes of medicated lip balm. I didn’t need any of it, but I wanted it. More than that, I wanted to take it. To steal it, I guess. Just to see what would happen. And nothing ever did, which I eventually found kind of depressing. It was a thrill for a minute, and then I just felt weird. Nobody cared, and I was left knowing that I ripped someone off, which made me feel gross. I always tried to justify it by telling myself that I was taking stuff from a multibillion dollar company and, Why should I care about their soulless corporate feelings? and all that—you know, the kind of rants my brother goes on when my mother asks him to do anything (last week, he argued that he shouldn’t have to shovel the driveway because “Big Weather” is behind all of the recent storms), but I still felt, not bad or guilty exactly, but just kind of like, “That probably wasn’t totally worth it.”

But I never got caught! Oh, man. Of course it would happen to you, on your first go. I love you forever, but impulsive decisions aren’t really your thing, dude. If I’m not mistaken, you spent a solid month trying to decide if you wanted bangs or not. And in the end, you went with “a side-swept bang, so I can have bangs when I want them, but push them away when I don’t,” which is totally you, because you get to make a decision without really making one. You’re a thoughtful person. Maybe sometimes a little too thoughtful, you know? I think it’s kind of good that all of this happened. If anything, it means that you’re trying to be a little braver, or at least a little less careful about everything. Just, like, don’t do it again. Because then I’ll have to go to Mall Jail to laugh at you in person and I don’t think my asthma can handle that at all.



Dear Alexis,

You’re such a jerk! I knew you’d laugh! But I swear to you it was totally traumatizing at the time! Anyway, I love you, too. You would have loved Mall Jail, though: They had Cinnabons and free coffee.

I should get my phone back tomorrow. My parents said they were going to take it away for a week, but then my mom was like, “But she needs it for the car,” and they both mumbled a bit and decided I could have it after 24 hours, as long as I wrote Cosmetica an apology (mortifying!!!!!) and promised to volunteer at some after-school tutoring program, which I would have done anyway. So I guess things are OK.

Cosmetica did NOT let me keep the stolen nail polish, but now that you mention it, I think it would have looked cool on my toes (even the little stumpy one that I can never paint properly). I legit cannot believe that you never told me about your days as a shoplifter. Medicated lip balm! Hot stuff! How did you never get caught? Not like I want pointers or anything—my mall criminal days are over.

You’re right about my decision-making skills. I can’t stand to be wrong. So I overthink everything, and then, no matter what I decide, I end up overthinking the actual decision and wondering if I did the right thing. It’s the worst. I guess I really did just want to stop thinking for a second and *feel something.* Does that makes sense?

Unfortunately, what I ended up feeling was SO EMBARRASSED. But you know what I realized? I’m, like, still alive! I completely humiliated myself in front of at least 10 Cosmetica shoppers (and three very good-looking people looking on from the food court, I forgot to mention) and I didn’t melt into a human puddle. I am capable of making ridiculous mistakes and still somehow existing. Who knew?

Oh, speaking of ridiculous mistakes: I went through that entire mall experience and never got the Auntie Anne’s pretzel that I went there for in the first place. Criminal in every way!!


Kara ♦