6:00 PM – 13 – almost paradise

It is the first dance I have ever been to. The ’80s music is in full swing. “Almost Paradise” is blasting through the gym, and I am watching my crush, Fizzwizz Boy, holding another girl in his arms, a popular girl, the third one he has held tonight. I am wearing a stupid outfit, an aqua skirt that reaches my shins with an aqua-and-white striped shirt tucked in and then fluffed out around the waist, so I look like I am from Kansas. “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!”

I dance with my friends for a while, but I have never danced before, and I don’t really know how. I shift from foot to foot, bouncing every now and then for good measure. I think my head is bopping up and down. I try to stop doing that, but when I stop thinking about it, I start bopping again.

They are playing “Kokomo” now, and Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony.” I moon over Billy Idol on MTV before my parents get home and I have to hastily change the channel, hoping that they don’t walk in and ask, “Why are you watching This Old House?”

Middle school boys do not look like Billy Idol.

I am right by the speakers. There is something in the vibrating wave of sound that I really like. I don’t get too close to that thought, because it is so far from my world of homework and sleepovers and PG-13 movie-watching, but I take note and store the info for later.

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