“I could really go for a good burger right now,” my friend says in a tone that conveys that a burger would fill not only her stomach, but her soul. She leans against the wall expectantly. All night, she’s been flirting with another friend, a certain kind of guy who likes a certain kind of girl: thin, glossy-haired, and intelligent enough to be a sparkling conversationalist, quick with a comeback, but not necessarily intellectually aggressive enough to call him on any of his bullshit.
We are a little hung-over, a little loud, a little late. As my friend Giri drives the car up a dusty, unpaved road, my friend Louise and I comment on how rustic the rough wooden fence separating from the field from Princeton Friends Meeting is.
Metta, you don’t know me, but I know you. And I’ve known you. You were an Indiana Pacer from the time I was 10 to 14 and children in Indiana grow up knowing the names of Pacers the way they know the Pledge of Allegiance. But then when I was in sixth grade you almost strangled a fan at a Detroit Pistons’ game and got yourself traded.
I don’t remember why I started listening to RadioNow 93.1, Indianapolis’ Top 40 radio station, but I know exactly when. I was nine, and it was the summer after third grade. Before this, I had basically stayed away from pop culture. I didn’t really get it, or like it, and there was a girl in my school who told me she was receiving shots to delay puberty because she had watched too much Britney Spears with her older siblings and it had somehow tricked her body into pressing “skip” over the last part of her pre-preteen years.
It was 9 a.m. Awakened, as I often am, by sunlight, I opened my door to go to the bathroom downstairs. Supine, to the side of my door, was a male form, blonde and muscular and naked. His hands were cupped over his genitals, his underwear crumpled by his head. His eyes were closed. I froze in surprise, but I had to pee, and out of some ingrained politeness didn’t want to disturb him. I stepped over him quietly and went downstairs.