by Rebecca Lee
“Let’s go downtown.” It’s the chant I hear every weekend. Downtown is where the lights are. It’s where the girls go. The makeup, the short skirts, the pot smokers and the boomboxes. They’re all there.
“Let’s go downtown.” The teenage guy I have a crush on, Matt, is asking his friends if they’re going. His voice is slow, low, and slick like rain. They sit at the back of the bus and blast Sublime on a battery-powered radio. I’m twelve. He’s seventeen. It could happen if I wear the right clothes.
“Let’s go downtown,” I say to my neighbor, Laura, later that night. Laura’s four years older and has a license. She can borrow her stepdad’s car. She smokes cigarettes and listens to En Vogue. It’s hot out and it’s close to summer. We’re getting older. I can feel it.
I grab the black pleather halter-top with red lace stitching. Short skorts in spring tease the boys, but make me comfortable. I lace up my boots. Knee high and red leather. Just like the kind I see on Mtv.
We go downtown several hours later. I sneak out of my house and she sneaks out of hers. The suburbs are unnaturally dark with no streetlights or store fronts. The field of tall grass by our houses shivers from a dull wind. It must be coming from downtown. That’s where everything happens.
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