tuesday afternoon

For some reason Maureen got into her head that she wanted to play a trick on these boys who lived near her by pretending that we were a different group of girls. This would involve, naturally, hiding, and at some point yelling the name of one of the girls as if we were looking for her or yelling at her. The boys hung out in a garage few streets over. They were of the variety my mother used to refer to as 'young toughs,' but we knew them as the cool guys. The girls we were pretending to be were these amazing 7th grade goddesses, made even more desirable by the fact that most of them had been left back and thus were infinitely more mature-looking than we were. These girls were so cool that they didn't even bother picking on us like the lower status tough girls did. Looking back, I can see now that these alleged tough girls were just practicing for what they'd put their kids through in a few years when they turned 16 or 17 and couldn't get the money together for an abortion. Meanwhile, the goddesses were busy getting ready for careers as strippers or blow-job queens. We were stuck being 13.

As Maureen and I walked to our destination, just north of the boys' hangout, she laid out the plan for me. "I'm going to run past the garage. They won't see me, but they'll hear someone run by. You'll yell, 'Hey Barbara! Get your ass back here!' so that they'll think I'm Barbara. They'll begin to associate you with Barbara and then eventually me too."
"Sure! It can't fail!"

But on the way over it started to pour. There was nowhere for us to go, so we hung out under a tree for a bit until the rain subsided. But we never dried off, and it never stopped raining, and by the time we got to the garage I was soaked.

The boys were there as promised. Four or five boys pretending to work on a car, smoking Marlboros, dressed in tight dirty jeans and t-shirts that said things like ELP or Moody Blues or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Big deal. Is this what we got rained on for? Maureen ran past, sneakers squeaking with several inches of rain. I was wet and angry. "Hey Barbara!" I yelled. "Get the fuck back here! I'm getting soaked!" To which a chorus of 15-year-old boys chanted, "We'll dry you off..."