The following is among the 16 essays, personal reflections and short stories from the recent collection, Outer Voices Inner Lives.
By Allison Green
We have entered the last half of our lives. Our friends are old enough to die of old diseases. We grew up with little knowledge of death. Our mother died young. Our first lover died of epilepsy. The only ones we knew who died were relatives in dark, curtain-drawn places with pretty teacups we weren’t allowed to touch and plates of cookies we weren’t allowed to plunder. There was a boy in high school who died drag-racing, but we had to look him up in the yearbook to see who he was.
We spent our youth trying things on. We were singers in the high school musical, poets in cafes, street musicians on the Ave. We were girlfriends, best friends, spurned friends, untrusted, and trustworthy friends. We feathered, shagged, and wedged our hair. We drew green eye shadow above our eyebrows, wore bubble-gum flavored lip gloss, refused to wear lipstick, wore too much lipstick. We wore togas to Latin club, memorized lines, mostly won at chess. We marched against the draft. We had sex, didn’t have sex, had everything but sex. We went to our first concert; it was at the Kingdome with 16,000 people. We went to an all-ages disco. We were asked to sit down after dancing with a girl. This isn’t that kind of place, they said.