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Rolling With My Homies

This is the time of year where I physically ache to be sixteen again.  I don’t know if it’s just that feeling of renewal with all the flowers and stuff (or the fact that it’s the start of another bloated action movie season) but come mid-May I am hurting for all those teenage feelings and wishing that I could just blow class once more and head to the beach with a grocery bag full of wine coolers.

If you’ve read my columns then you know I was never cool (not even a little bit) but I had my moments and the following story is about one of them.

And no, it’s not particularly geeky but it is about a geek girl whose flirting techniques revolved around various comic book storylines and once, a long time ago, I did manage to knock one out of the park boy-wise.

So here we go:

It’s Friday night and I’m in my mother’s Ford Tempo driving down the streets of my hometown looking for something to do that will get me in trouble.

My mom doesn’t know I have her car, hell, I don’t even have a license, but if I get the mom’obile back in the garage before 4am with a bit of gas, she’ll never know (right?).

The car windows are all rolled down and my left arm is surfing on an air current and nothing could be better, right now, here, at this time, then doing what it is that I’m doing and I’m pretty sure that I’m looking good: opaque black tights, cut-off jeans with a lot of ragged string showing, tight wife-beater with a flannel shirt over it and combat boots shined and scuffed.

I lean over and turn the volume on the radio louder.  The mix-tape I made is blaring bands that I’m not that familiar with but I overheard some students from Linfield College talking about them and so I taped them off of the radio, hoping that they would make me look cool. You know, far superior to the suburban white kid that I actually am.

It’s eleven pm and all I’m doing is killing time before I pick up my best friend Trina (who’s sneaking out of her house to meet me at the 7-11 parking lot) and, if everything goes the way I planned, I will be sucking face with my newest crush by 1am (although I’m pretty sure that his girlfriend won’t approve).

I stop at the Plaid Pantry convenience store for a soda and some smokes. The kid behind the counter, bored beyond bored, doesn’t question me and I slide the $3 across the counter at him while he bags my stuff up-a Pepsi and a pack of Camels- (and if he did say anything I would just tell him that the cigs were for my mom, which is really all the okay he needs) and I nod to a couple of my classmates who are eyeballing the display of warm Bud sitting next to the door.

Back in the car, I head down Baker St. toward the 7-11 passing by other kids (the cars seem to be full of them) who are out trolling and for a moment, I’m pretty sure that I will remember this night forever. Which is pretty weird to think since all I’m doing is what I always do, and nothing is really different, but the feeling sticks, claws its way inside of me, and sits there. I can’t shake it and by the time I pull into the 7-11 parking lot, I’m freaking out just a bit.

Trina, who has been standing near the store, rushes over and slides in and tells me that she got a call about twenty minutes ago from a mutual friend who told her that my crush was hanging a Sherri’s (a 24-hour diner) and that he was sans g-friend.

We head back into the middle of town and Echo and the Bunnymen’s  Bedbugs and Ballyhoo come on (side B) and I’m getting nervous and Trina’s talking non-stop but I don’t really hear her (something about being a Thespian, I think) because that gnawing feeling is still there.

Sheri’s is packed. I tell the waitress that I’m meeting some friends and would it be okay if I look around for them? She nods and seats another group of kids behind Trina and me while we scan the restaurant for the object of my teenage lust.

I spot him sitting with a couple of his friends and we make eye-contact for a second.  He smiles, waves and I pretend that this is all a coincidence.

I tell the waitress that our friends aren’t here but if she could seat us over there (I discreetly point at an empty booth near the guy I plan on face hugging later) that would be great.

We get a booth a few tables back and I strategically sit so that he can see me and I order a coffee and a slice of cherry pie.

I catch him looking at me a few times and I smile.  I light up a cigarette and take small puffs so that I don’t accidently choke on the smoke (I’ve only recently taken it up). He says something to his friend and gets up from the table (this is it, I think, this is where all the planning, maneuvering, manipulation and scores of information from the chick-chain at school has led me) and he comes over.

I pretend to finish a sentence that was never part of the conversation “…and so that’s how I beat him at Paperboy (NES circa 1988) and look up at him.

Trina excuses herself and makes her way to a table of mutual friends while his friends continue their conversation at theirs.

He sits down, we flirt. We talk about videogames and comics. I politely inquire about his girlfriend. He takes me into his confidence and admits that she doesn’t understand him (this is to be the first of many of these types of conversations I have with potential suitors). He asks me if I can give him a ride home (it’s 12:45). I nod.

We leave the restaurant together (Trina nudges a friend and nods toward me-she’ll get home another way) and when he gets into the car next to me that feeling of weird importance weighs down on me.

“Hey” he says when we get closer to his house, “We should go to the park for a bit.”

I agree and pull onto Star Mill Rd. which will take us down to the belly of the park.

I won’t go into details over what happened next. We were teenagers in throes of a hormonal frenzy so you can rest assured that the amount of hours that was dedicated to slobber and dry-humping was considerable.

But that feeling was right; I do remember everything down to the last detail (mainly because his girlfriend found out and tried to beat me up the following day and I didn’t get home until 7am and my Mom nearly killed me) but that is all part of being young and sometimes, when the weather is just right, I will think about it and smile and put on Echo and the Bunnymen (iPod mix list titled-The Way It Used To Be) and cruise down the road looking for some trouble to get into.

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