Barely breathing enough to speak, she said, "Everywhere I go I never fit in. I'm always the odd one out. People stare at me but never talk to me. I hate being different."
"Why would you hate being different?"
"I want to be normal. People don't laugh and make fun of normal. They don't bully normal. They embrace it. They befriend it. They are it."
"Look at me." The old woman flicked her lighter and held it to her cigar. "I'm eighty-five-years-old today. Do you know why I've lived so long?"
The teary-eyed girl shook her head.
"I never cared to be like everyone else. I wore the crazy clothes. I wore my hair however I felt like wearing it. I drank and spit with the boys. I never quite fit in one group. Some liked me and some didn't. I had a man who loved me. We got married when I was twenty-years-old. Stayed together until the good Lord called him home." She wiggled her old hand that showcased her silver wedding band. "Being different is not so bad. I did a lot of things. I was a painter, dancer, wanderer--you name it, I did it. And I always had fun doing it. Even with the stares and laughs. I always told myself, they're laughing at me because I'm happy. I wonder just how happy they are with their lives. Most of the time they were miserable. You see, they aren't enjoying their lives because they're so busy watching you."
The girl sat up, with a sense of ease, dabbing her green eyes with the torn napkin.
"That a girl. Sit up straight and show that beautiful smile. You've got pretty teeth. Show them off. Forget those kids and be yourself. You'll live longer, laugh more, and be worry free. That's why I can sit as unladylike as I please, with my electric colors, big ole' cigar, with my flower--I always must have a flower in my hair---without a care in the world. I will smile and wave at everyone. Even the people who laugh when they pass me by. Proudly saying this is who I am. Deal with it," she said, with her electric smile.