This essay was originally published by the online literary journal Neutrons Protons on May 1, 2014.
1. Ashley R., at age 11,
For having a gaggle of girls who gathered around her at recess, edging the chain link fence in their plaid skirts, rolled at the waist so that the hem fell high above the knee, (even if it meant detention at a private Christian school like ours),
And for her ability to simultaneously ignore and flirt with the boys who catapulted wood chips at her until the bell rang.
2. Lindsay S., at age 13,
For having a sister, two years ahead of her, who could introduce her to her older guy friends, (calm my beating heart),
For wearing a bikini at the Young Life Camp all the church youth group kids attended, while my parents only let me wear my old glittery one-piece,
And for not needing braces.
3. Meredith D., at age 14,
For being allowed to date whomever she wanted, (all the many pimply boys who slipped notes on lined paper through the cracks in her locker), while my parents had forbidden me from dates until further notice,
And for being long-legged and still nice to me.
4. Angie R., at age 16,
For having a boyfriend with whom she could make-out after marching band practice, even if she felt guilty about it afterward, (which is how I heard about it),
And for continuing to be friends with my ex-boyfriend Karl after we broke up.
5. Lauren D., at age 18,
For being the sister of Mikey, a guitarist with blue eyes, for whom I signed onto AOL instant messenger every day for a year and a half, just in case he might maybe possibly want to chat with me, (no luck),
And for being in college, (which made you cool back then).