Inside the tree-house, we were outside the reach of parents and siblings, school and schedules. Inside, we created worlds of make-believe: grocery stores and restaurants, witches’ covens and fairy empires.
I want to ask her if, when I am her age, I will have figured out how to clean my shower so that I don’t feel dirtier when I sit on the floor to shave my legs. I want to ask her where I will live—if my love affair with the South and its afternoon thunderstorms and cicadas and heat will have ended, if I will live in a small apartment in a city or a sprawling house with a lawn and trees.
Last night, I lay in bed naked. I don’t do that very often—I’m too awkward, not comfortable enough in my skin—but last night, I needed some alone time with my body. Under the covers, I rested my hands on my stomach, feeling the small hill of my abdomen and the quiet echo of my pulse. I touched my feet together, feeling the calluses on my big toes meet.
For me, grocery shopping is the epitome of grown-up-edness. This summer marks the first time I’ve had my own kitchen/normal-sized refrigerator and the first time I’ve had to do my own grocery shopping—it’s a daunting task. When I was little (whatever, until I was nineteen), I kind of assumed that groceries were just always there.
Unburdened by your backpack, you wander around campus and notice tiny white flowers on trees and cracked brick sidewalks and meticulously cut, impossibly green grass, and you wonder how you never noticed them before…
For men, the goal is to look like you’re a 45 year old corporate executive on the weekend. Wear collared shirts at all times, either polo or button up (sleeves rolled up, of course, and never unbutton more than the first button). Wear khakis—rarely jeans, never cargo pants.
You’re nineteen. You just finished your first year of college, and your boyfriend from home broke up with you, and you don’t have a summer job, and nineteen is nothing like you thought it would be. One night, your mom makes a cake and you eat it, almost the whole thing, because you’re bored, and then you realize you didn’t want it at all.