Sarah Hepola

Romantic delusions and teenage
crushes and hair-sprayed bangs

When I was 10 and 11, my next-door-neighbor and I used to talk on the phone at night. She and I were 50 yards away from one another, but confined to our own rooms, and so  we would tie up the line telling each other fantasies about John Taylor from Duran Duran — how we met him after a concert, how he fell in love with us — which strikes me now as an early form of fan fiction. I was always writing stories about the pretty boys in my teen magazines, long after my neighbor moved to another school district and we lost touch. Judd Nelson, River Phoenix, Johnny Depp. I will always remember those years with great fondness, and a twinge of regret. I’m not sad that I lived in such a fantasy world  — but I’m a little sad for how long it took me to stop. Let me explain.