As Lightly As Possible
by GEORGIA HARDSTARK
Barbara was a bad influence, and conveniently I was bored of suburban life and craving a bad influence. We became friends quickly. Her favorite band was Stone Temple Pilots (this was in 1993, so I'd never heard of them), and we bonded over our all-encompassing, flannel clad obsession with Nirvana. Everywhere we went, we'd do so with our arms linked - mine looped through hers - and our heads tilted towards one another so our conspiratorial conversations wouldn't be overheard.
Do you remember what it felt like when you first discovered that there was a life away from your parents? When you first realized that you weren't a child anymore? For some of you that may have been later in life - in college or when you got your first car and had that taste of freedom — but for me, because I was a latchkey kid with a wild imagination, I experienced that when I was 13. I couldn't have picked a better (or worse, more likely) person to expose me to that life than Barbara.
I remember straddling her as she lay face-down on her couch one afternoon. We had ditched class like always, and her single mother was at work. She wanted the word "Love" carved into her back, she told me as she held a lighter to a razor blade to disinfect it, before handing it over to me. I pressed as lightly as possible, barely drew any blood, but I remember thinking how stupid she was for doing that. She was the dominant one in our relationship though, more of a boyfriend to me than a friend, so I didn't tell her this.
That's a whole part of my life that I'd like to forget. The girl I was back then is a stranger to me now, and when I see girls who are the age I was when I did those things I'd like to forget - the drugs, the sex, feeling invincible - I'm always shocked at how young they look. It doesn't jive with the image I had of myself back then.
Underneath the large tattoo on my leg, now covered by a Japanese flower, are her initials. With a safety pin and Indian ink, we carved each other's initials into our legs at the height of our friendship, which not long after came to a screeching halt over a guy.
"Winter Games" — Foreign Born (mp3) highly recommended
"Early Warnings" — Foreign Born (mp3)
"Vacationing People" — Foreign Born (mp3)