The place was upstate & in the middle of nowhere. She had heard about it from some of her friends. No one said what actually went on there but merely alluded to it w/slightly arched brows. The boy her parents insisted she spend time w/. “I know where we can go…” The drive was mostly done in silence as the small talk that they had attempted made it seem even more awkward. For his part, they forced jocularity he had tried out made him instantly think of his father and so his mouth snapped shut with no sound but much force. The ride was just long enough for the night quiet that surrounded them to become exciting, as if they were at the start of becoming co-conspirators.
There were some cars parked unevenly out front.
He took her hand and they went through the door. At first they had both been scared. Julia had been so frightened that much like the accident when she was younger, she became very quiet and although she moved, radiated a stillness. All of this kicked in before she actually became calm. For his part, his nerves remained a sea whose surface continued to roil. He looked at her, she was so calm, his palm was a wet guilty verdict.
Julia looked all around. A few people were holding beer bottles with the necks between their fingers like a piece of sporting equipment for a game with which they are only vaguely familiar. Antonella was slow dancing in the middle of the room. She had never been one of the pretty girls, the group within the group of burgeoning women. But after summer vacation word got around that she had done more than any of her better looking peers and this was parlayed into a type of popularity. All the times that she was ignored, she was now getting hers, insisting that her boyfriend dance with her.
Some of the boys sit on the lip of the fireplace, cigarettes dangling from their bottom lips, nudging each other with their shoulders and giggling.
In very little time Julia realized that there was nothing to be frightened of, this was just a giant playhouse with children playing at being adults. An entire night of watching the behavior of others, the effect similar to someone trying to describe a movie which they had not seen but merely had heard about, adulthood. Her date never fully relaxed and for the rest of her life Julia always gravitated towards men who were more frightened than her.
FiniOct 8 W.Wolfson