To: Roger Schulman 131 Barrow St., Apt. 1 NY, NY 10014
Dear Dad, Hello from Day One of the tenth-grade girls’ mystery vacation. We’re supposed to keep the location a secret, but the Puerto Plata postmark might give it away. You would TOTALLY approve—we’re at Green Amigas, a collective of women who plant community gardens for underprivileged locals. It’s run by Ilana Dominguez, née Feldman, a Baldwin alum who married a Dominican financier she met on a vacation down here. Everyone’s very hippie- dippy and zenned to the max. It’s a wonder I haven’t run into the Upstairs Judys yet! Love and miss you to the moon, Senorita Mimi Schulman To: Rachel Lieber 3412 Sunset Blvd.
Houston, TX 77005
Rach, I know, I know, you’re probably fuming about my bailing on Texas for Christmas—but trust me, it’s a long story. Not sure if I updated you on the massive social catastrophe that befell me at the end of last semester (I doubt it, since I was too humiliated to leave my bedroom, much less discuss it long- distance), but anyway, all’s well that ends well, and I’m now in the Dominican Republic, vacationing with the friends I almost lost. I’ll tell you all about it when we next see each other. Which might be soon, right? What about the promised NYC visit? C’mon, mama, how could you not? Crazy fun guaranteed, what do you think? Hi to everyone at holiday parties, OK? More soon, Luuuuuuv, Mimi To: Ariel Schulman Littlefield Dormitory Box #406 University of Texas Austin, TX 78712
How’s my favorite Kappa Kappa sister? Abs still hard as granite? It’s bathing- suit land down here in the D.R., and I’ve dreamed of trading bodies with you several times. Are we really related? Life is not fair. . . . Weather is blissful and scenery all blue skies and tie-dyed sunsets. We spend most days gardening with earnest middle-aged women—you’d hate it. So how was Xmas? Did Mom get all Christian on you now that her Jewish husband is halfway across the country, or was she as annoyingly Freudian as ever? I realize I should send Mom a postcard but I have no desire to address it to Maurice, too, so please just tell them I’m alive and healthy. XOXO, Your tubby-tummied little sis, Mimi To: Sam Geckman 231 W. 87 St. Apt. 8A NY, NY 10025
Sam, Hi from the winter vacation I almost missed thanks to a certain on-off-on-off redheaded friend of mine, ahem, ahem. Right, so, um, I’ve started this postcard seven times already and realize there’s no witty way of putting it: Last semester kind of (major understatement) sucked for us, but I really hope the next one is better. We’re too cosmically connected to wreck such a special friendship. In other news, this vacation is truly awesome—still top- secret, but let’s just say, you’d be way impressed with my “shallow” friends. If you dare so much as hint to anyone where this postcard comes from, you and I are through. All over again. Got it? Hope you’re having fun in Florida and see you soon.
XOXO, Mimi To: Myrtle Lanchester 2401 Bolsover St.
Houston, TX 77005
Myrtilian, Howdy from the Dominican Republic, where I’m planting vegetables for world peace. And you thought you knew me inside out. . . . How’s my favorite almost-stepsister holding up? Please tell Simon he is the most beautiful, intelligent cat in America—make that the Americas, as I’ve seen no feline contenders on this island. Congrats on getting all your college apps in. I so hope you choose a school in New York—the men of Gotham await! You would love it down here—many kissable botanists. On my next gardening excursion, you’re definitely coming with. X’s and O’s, Mimi
P.S. HI, MOM! I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS. FINISHED THE BOOK YOU SENT ABOUT THE MENTALLY ILL STREET PEOPLE IN BEIRUT. VERY ILLUMINATING. HOW ABOUT SOMETHING A TAD LIGHTER NEXT TIME?
To: Roger Schulman 131 Barrow St., Apt 1 NY, NY 10014
El Papá, Happy New Year! I realize this will reach you long after I do, but I couldn’t resist . . . Como estas? Still surviving in a household of one? I hope you’ve remembered to shower and eat. Apart from my most brutal sunburn ever, everything remains dreamy, perfect, etc. Have dirt under toenails and know how to say lettuce in Spanish. Last night Ilana Dominguez threw an elaborate New Year’s Eve bash. Picture moonlight, lapping waves, and a fourteen-piece samba band. Have used all the Polaroid film you gave me so I’ll have plenty of pix. I miss and love you so much. XOXOXO, Mimicita
P.S. Get this: One of my fellow Green Amigas residents was Upstairs Judy #2’s ggirlfriend “back in the Berkeley days.” Did I not call it?!
The Incredible Flying Goat Show Girl
Imagine the time you could save if you didn’t have to say goodbye. Not the word goodbye, but the hugs, sniffles, and promissssses to stay in touch that accompany it. I could’ve mastered Swahili in the hours I spent bidding adios to our forty new best friends at Green Amigas. We were on our way out the door when Ilana Dominguez unveiled our sendoff tres leches cake, frosted with purple and white squiggles to resemble a head of cabbage. I thought it rude not to stay for a slice, or three.
By the time my friends and I reached the airport, our flight was already boarding, and lines at the check-in counters snaked outside. Lily, the most organized of the group, immediately started freaking out, but Pia, the daughter of Italian diplomats, rose to the occasion. She unapologetically glided to the front of the line and snapped her fingers for us to follow. When we obeyed, the other tourists revolted. “Get in line like everyone else!” one shouted. “Don’t you dare!” another threatened. “We’ve been here since dawn!” I half sympathized with the people we cut, but not Pia, whose emotional intelligence was still playing catch-up with her sky-high IQ. “When will people understand jealousy is so unattractive?” she mused wearily, and handed us our boarding cards.We got to the gate with a minute to spare at a magazine kiosk. “And I mean one minute,” Pia said. “As in, sixty seconds. I did not just make five thousand new enemies so we can miss our flight!” With that, she disappeared behind a rack of novels in Spanish, leaving the rest of us to browse the newsstand’s paltry offerings: inspirational greeting cards, tins of local nuts, and travel-size bottles of mouthwash. Of the several newspapers scattered across the floor, only the Irish Standard was in English. It was four pages long and cost more than most annual gym memberships. “Perfect!” Jess scooped the Standard off the dingy floor. Depressed by her boyfriend Preston’s long-distance neglect, Jess had spent much of our vacation perusing a gloomy book of Russian short stories, and I was glad to see her moving on to lighter reading material. “I’ll get that,” Viv said, and tried to take Jess’s newspaper.
Jess had allowed our wealthy friends to pay for her weeklong vacation, but here she drew the line. She didn’t have cash to toss around like our friends did, but she had plenty of pride. “It’s mine,” she huffed, “so I’m paying for it!” “They just announced final boarding,” Lily said nervously.
“No, seriously, let me buy it,” Viv pressed. “It’s only money.” “I said NO!”