When I was young and stupid, I liked to do young and stupid things with my equally young and stupid friends. Sometimes these things were clothing optional. Oh god, that makes it sound like I was a 12 year old whore or something. Nothing nearly that tintillating–I apologize.
When I was 12 or 13, I spent a lot of time with Belle (name changed), one of my more worldly friends, we’ll say. We would while away the hours supine on her lavender and blush bedspread, discussing matters of great importance (boys, The Sims, fashion) in grave tones (high pitched voices). We also particularly enjoyed attempting to sprint in the small heated pool in her backyard, creating tempestuous tornadoes of water which flung us about with great force. Our maniacal laughter frightened the chickadees and swallows nesting in the eaves of the roof, spurring them to flee.
Most nights that I spent at Belle’s house, we would do something that we weren’t supposed to do. It was usually as harmless as staying up late, sneaking into the basement at 1am and playing The Sims for 3 hours. But one night we decided to do something a little different.
Belle had a walk in closet with built-in bench seats along one side (rich private schools, remember?). Her closet was roughly the size of my bedroom, and I dare say it was furnished better. On a whim, Belle decided that we should have a fashion show. We tried on various mismatched articles of clothing and paraded around the closet while blaring something terrible like the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack.
I had Belle’s swimsuit top on and a pair of jeans. Belle was wearing the swimsuit bottoms and a tee shirt, completing the look with an army green bucket hat. We had just collapsed on the floor after a particularly exhausting bout of laughter seized us. As we regained our composure, I noticed a mischievous glint in Belle’s hazel eyes. My watch beeped, signalling the passing of the 11 o’clock hour.
“Jordan, I dare you to go outside like that.”
I giggled nervously as I considered my options. I could either agree to the proposal and demonstrate my adolescent bravery, or I could demur and lose my preciously obtained credibility. If I refused, I knew that Belle would blow the tale out of proportion when she told our friends. Undoubtedly it would end with me losing face. If I agreed, I would certainly meet with an untimely demise at the hands of some child predator. I worried at the skin around my nails, seeking out the best choice. A light bulb went off; I could almost hear King Solomon weeping with delight at the solution I had devised.
“I’ll only go if you go.”
I turned the tables back on Belle. If she refused, she would be the one to lose her position among our ranks. She would surely be considered a greater coward than I because I had offered to accompany her. However, if she agreed to the counter-proposal, I would be less terrified with her by my side. Belle fiddled with her thick, golden hair as she made her decision.
“Okay, let’s do it.”
We snuck down the stairs and tiptoed through the parlor. We made our way to the kitchen, where Belle unlocked a side window as a precaution. We exited the house through the kitchen door, making sure not to lock it behind us. The night was cool, and a soft breeze kissed our exposed skin. A porch light winked out in the distance; the end of the block, our predetermined finish line, seemed a lifetime away.
Our bare feet made only a whisper of noise as we scampered across the sidewalk. My breath was coming in erratic spurts, adrenaline changing the equilibrium of my body. Two headlights highlighted our strange parade, a car was approaching. We squeaked and jumped into a neighbor’s hedges. Thin, needle-like branches scraped at our vulnerable skin as we disentangled ourselves after the car’s passing.
Eventually we made it down the street and back to the house without any truly life-threatening incidents. Belle turned the handle of the side door, or rather, she attempted to. Someone had locked it while we were gone. No matter, we had unlocked a window in preparation for a situation such as this. Belle went to the window–it was locked.
We tried all of the windows around the house without success; they were all locked. One of her parents must have toured the house and checked the windows before retiring for the evening. Our panic rising, we reached the front of the house. The front door was our last option.
Suddenly a harsh light obstructed our view. Brie’s dad opened the front door as we both blindly attempted to hid behind a bush.
“Belle, what’s going on here?” Her father inquired in an unamused tone as we collapsed from a surfeit of emotions. We entered the house under his stern gaze and ran up the stairs to her room. Belle’s parents then debated what should be done with us. In the end, we were unscathed, and we reported our achievement to our friends with great pride.