Cali Sky listened to the sounds in the apartment. Zoe was asking Tam a question.
“When do you think they’ll begin to lose those identities?”
“They won’t completely,” answered Tam.
“I hope not. I can’t imagine them without them.”
“Me neither. But they’ll fade…or evolve. They’ll change into some form that’s acceptable in the real world.”
“Oh my god, that’s depressing. They’ll become like everyone else.”
“Maybe. Yes and no. Andrew’s the athlete, right? He’ll end up owning some appliance store or something and ruthlessly drive the competition out of business. Or he’ll wind up with some corporate job and become an alcoholic and wife-beater when he never gets promoted. He’ll talk about kicking his boss’ ass but will never do anything about it.”
“The Breakfast Club?” asked Cali Sky.
Zoe nodded with a smile.
“Who else?” Tam asked.
“Brian,” answered Zoe, “the brain. I knew kids like him in high school. One has already started law school. Total successes. Then there’s Claire, the princess. She’ll spend daddy’s money for the rest of her life.”
“No,” corrected Tam. “She’ll end up marrying the criminal, Bender. But they’ll change each other. Meet in the middle. She’ll become less like a princess. He’ll become less like a criminal. They’ll become the average middle-class family with two kids and no aspirations. Boring and predictable.”
“No,” groaned Zoe.
“Well,” Cali Sky proposed, “maybe the same thing will happen to the athlete and the basket case. They get together in the movie, right? Maybe they’ll also get married after high school and cancel each other out. He’ll become less like an athlete and she’ll become less like a basket case. What’s left? Your average American family. Ordinary.”
“Oh my God, Cali Sky,” exclaimed Zoe. “You’re ruining the movie for me.”
“Just don’t think about their future, Zoe,” Cali Sky advised.
“Maybe not,” Tam said. “I don’t see the basket case marrying the jock. Of all the high school types the basket case is least likely to conform.”
“Unlike the criminal?” Cali Sky challenged.
“Criminals like Bender reform when a girl like Claire comes along,” answered Tam. “Not a basket case.”
“Thank you!” exclaimed Zoe. “At least one of them might remain true to themselves.”
“She’ll stay weird,” Tam said. “Dress differently. Play strange roles every now and then. Do what she wants when she wants. Freak people out. She’ll never conform.”
“Tam,” said Zoe with a smile, “you just described yourself.”
“As well as you,” Tam returned.
“And a rock star,” added Cali Sky.
“So it’s all of us,” Zoe gushed. “We’ll never conform!”
The phone rang.
“Seriously,” said Cali Sky, as if stumbling upon a realization that both thrilled and disconcerted her, “a rock star is one of the few professions where you never really need to grow up.”
“Like a photographer,” Zoe said triumphantly.
Cali Sky entered her room to answer the phone. When she returned a minute later Tam and Zoe had not changed the subject.
“A filmmaker!” said Zoe.
“That’s an artist,” Tam replied. “We already said all artists.”
“How about a boss? Of any sort of business?”
“But you have to work your way up to that position. Along the way you conform. It’s inevitable. Besides a boss has too much responsibility. Responsibility necessitates conformity.”
“How about a college professor…”