There she is, standing in front of her old stomping grounds at the mall. The Triumph song rings in her head , “She’s young now, she’s wild now, she wants to be free … “ They wrote that song about her. She’s sure of it.
Her boyfriend drives up. She climbs into his 1975 Toyota Corolla where the stereo speakers blare, Jukebox Hero.
She leaves with her friends for a dinner break from the movie theater job to go to the hot dog place, Hippos. Wait. Where is Hippos? It’s not there!
Whoosh. The time machine moves forward 35 years again. Hippos is gone. Did the years really go by? The sights, sounds and smells, all caused me to live it again.
“Don’t you know you’ve got to shock the monkey …” another song from the car radio thrusts the time machine backward again.
There she is, four years older than that candy girl at the theater. This time she’s standing in a smokey, crowded bar at the front of a stage.
She holds a Long Island Iced Tea in her hand and giggles with her friend. The lights dim. A drum beats. The band begins. Her stomach lifts into her throat and a muffled squeal escapes. The handsome lead singer bursts onto the stage wearing black parachute pants and a leopard-print t-shirt. She and the singer dance in unison … he on the stage, she in the audience. Their eyes catch….
Blinking moves the time machine forward again thirty years. I remember that girl. Do you know what happened to her after their eyes met? The lead singer pulled her onto the stage. The scene was both comically clumsy and sizzling with chemistry, almost like a romantic comedy. She loved it. In fact, she ate it up. Her low self-esteem needed the attention … needed to feel like that outrageously attractive man who all the girls were screaming for, only had eyes for her. If so, then she was more special than any of them.
I remember how she went back to see that band time and time again.
All of those memories seemed as if they were from someone else’s life, until the sights, songs and smells morphed me into that young girl’s mind. I hadn’t seen so many of the old places since moving away. It seemed I skipped in time from age fifty to twenty and vice versa.
I’m no longer that insecure girl and don’t need the validation from the piercing, steely eyes of a sexy lead singer. I’m comfortable in my adult woman’s skin. The aging hurts the body, but I’m okay with this woman. She’s the best friend I’ve ever had.
If I could talk to that naïve, insecure girl, I’d tell her to enjoy her youth, but to never doubt that she is loved for who she is and always will be.
P.S. The band noted in this post was famous in the Midwest, but not widely known.