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Spin the Bottle
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Near the end of sixth grade, the top grade in my school, I suddenly became The Girl for a brief time and I was completely flummoxed. I’d known many of the kids in my grade since kindergarten and honestly never thought of any of them as sexual objects. I was still hoping against hope to hook up, even though I had no real details on how that happened, with Troy Donahue or Ricky Nelson or James Shigeta. My best friend Susan and I spent hours interrogating our Magic 8 balls about the most important features of our future lives and of course we treated its vague and repetitive missives like messages from on high. I wasn’t ready. I feel like I went from playing jacks alone in my room to playing spin the bottle in the shaded corner of the playground and having Matt Ross, unquestionably the handsomest boy in our school, or maybe in all schools, actually cheat so that he could kiss me over and over in spite of David Lehrer’s increasing fury. I remember him crawling directly towards me from across the center and I felt more and better than I ever remembered feeling before.
I was dazzled. I wanted to marry Matt Ross as soon as school was over. I looked at the clothes in my closet in a whole new way and saw that I was going to need a whole new wardrobe for junior high. No. Wait. I needed a whole new wardrobe right this minute for all the popular kid parties I was now invited to up until and about two hours past our graduation.
Was I surprised when it was all over and my life went back to what it had been? Not even a little. The whole four or five week period had seemed not like a dream, it felt too vivid in crazy new ways, but like a fluke, like an accident, a mishap, a miscommunication. I was back to being skinny and freckled with an overbite that needed and soon got some serious intervention.
It was summer vacation, and I went back to spending hours racing my bike against one of the ‘bad boys’ from the Catholic school up the street who lived around the corner. I still did ‘brodies’ with him and scraped up my knees. We still joked like buddies. But now I wore my new sneakers and put my hair up just so.

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