It’s August in Austin. The summer before my junior year in high school. My best friend Queen Bee is at my house and we’re sunbathing in plastic folding lawn chairs set up behind my house. Again.
(I’d call it my backyard but there was no fence – just a tennis court on top of a hill that spanned about an acre, land with trees and brush where I’d convened countless treehouse club meetings with imaginary friends in earlier days. I was ALWAYS president.)
Queen Bee’s 1970s-era Ford Mustang is parked in the driveway, just behind my dark grey Dodge Colt – the one affectionately known as “Flo.” My mom’s boxy Nissan occupies the garage.
My beloved one-eyed cocker spaniel Amber sits in the shade of the porch, waiting patiently as Queen Bee and I squint at each other and gab about (what else?) boys and the upcoming school year while sipping Big Gulps of Dr. Pepper from the local Circle K. I’ve blown off a weekend drill team practice (again) to do nothing but this. Ms. Kepper, the hard-assed drill team instructor, will be pissed. I don’t give a shit.
The scent of the baby oil we’ve generously coated ourselves in to bake our skin blends nicely with the smell of sun-drenched blades of grass. My hot pink “boom box” serenades us from the porch. The local pop station K-98 churns out tunes from INXS, Phil Collins and the Bangles, and this song is next in rotation.
One of us says, “Oh, I LOVE this song!” and the other nods in agreement, then we go on with our conversation, laughing about some silly girl thing while the song provides the perfect background.
When school starts again, these days will be gone. The bikini will be packed away, drill team practice and Kepper will matter again. But for now, in this one moment, all that matters to me is hanging out with my best friend and achieving the perfect tan.
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