I open the Zara Zane app. As I hear the familiar theme music, my head feels cool and quiet. Zara Zane is famous, but no one is quite sure why. She’s glamorous, that’s for certain, fashion designers all over the world clamoring to outfit her, clear ivory skin straight from a skin care commercial, sharp angular cheekbones, sea green eyes and wavy, white blond hair arranged in a new avant garde style every time she was photographed. Which was a lot. Zara Zane was just another hard-partying no-name socialite until she got caught hooking up with her then-boyfriend on a security camera after they’d taken the liberty of entering an A-list movie star’s home uninvited, a bag of his and his girlfriend’s pilfered jewelry and clothing at their feet. The movie star was overseas promoting his latest film at the time.
The girl who had everything, breaking into people’s homes and stealing their belongings for fun. The story had been sensational at the time. Every entertainment show, every gossip blogger, and even some legitimate news organizations, wanted to know who this girl was. She was a socialite with a sex tape and a rap sheet. The trifecta. She was inundated with interview requests, and after she’d served her very short five-day sentence for breaking and entering, she had a reality show deal waiting on her. And the rest was history. The show, Zany Zara Zane, which focused on herself and a revolving door of family members, best friends and lackeys, was a runaway hit, she had a bevy of endorsement deals, clothing lines, perfume, the works. But why precisely was she famous? What was her allure? It was something Sunny and I had spent many hours trying to figure out. We complained about how dumb the show was, yet we watched. And now we were obsessed with the Zany Zara Zane video game. A game where you could live the fabulous life of Zara Zane, taking the same pathway to fame Zara had, minus the felonies. Getting photographed, dating the right people, making the right friends, going to the right parties, wearing the right clothes, they all earned you points that got you to the next level of fame.
I watch the screen as cartoon Zara had lunch at a Hollywood hotspot with her mom, Zelda. Zelda was a fixture on the show, kind of a sad spectacle, with her late-night partying, too-tight outfits and frozen plastic surgery face. You could almost smell her desperation through the television. A pop up box appeared on the screen. I had the option to stage a fight with Zelda in the restaurant and get photographed by the paparazzi, thus upping my chances of making the tabloids and blogs and therefore my level of fame, or invite Zelda along to my next meeting with a designer who’s offered to make my gown for a movie premiere. I choose to invite Zelda. Cartoon Zara rolls her eyes. I guess mom’s coming along with me to meet Ricardo. Hope she doesn’t embarrass me! Zara tries on two dresses, one sparkly, eye-catching, a little poufy, with a deep neckline, the other dark, sexy and skintight. I pick the sparkly one, as Ricardo and Zelda applaud. My points skyrocket and I move up a level.
Almost famous! What I’ve always wanted! Zara exclaims, bouncing up and down on the pedestal. I play for a few more hours, Zara attends a movie premiere, meets a new up and coming actor, dumps her current boyfriend, and gets offered a guest spot on a new friend’s reality show.
I hear my dad come home with my grandmother and great-aunt. Sunny gives me a hug and I kind of limply fall against her, my arms at my sides. Then she leaves. My grandmother stands outside my door. Telling me I should be ashamed of myself for missing my own mother’s funeral. I should have gone and paid my respects. To whom? I wonder, as my chest contracts, my legs dissolving into the sheets as I begin to gasp for air. I hate her. I hate her for still being here when my mother is not. My dad comes upstairs, asks her to leave me alone. She gives a short grunt, but turns away, I listen to her angry footsteps echoing down the hallway. Then I fall back asleep.