All Night Long

It was summertime.  My brother was away with my father’s family out East.  My mother, not having to worry about what was going on at home was working hard and enjoying life on the weekends.  She and her girlfriends would go out at least one night of each weekend to their favorite bar, and drink and talk, and sometimes they would continue the party back at the girlfriend’s home.  My sister often had friends staying over for days at a time at our house, and sometimes she would do the same at their houses.

I was spending a lot of time with my friend Dawn, who lived right around the corner.  We would take long walks through the forested area behind our townhouse complex, spend some time in the tree fort back there, we would linger at the shops across the railroad tracks.  We followed those tracks, sometimes, all the way to the railroad bridge and dared each other to walk its expanse, twenty five feet off of the ground, to the other side.  We spent a lot of time at our townhouse pool, swimming for exercise and tanning.  We wrote; me finishing up my nearly done novel about Rick Springfield and Dawn writing endless short stories about this topic or that.

One day, a friend of hers suggested we hang out with her that evening.  I knew Shawn wasn’t exactly a great influence; she was friendly with my brother and that made her part of the “stoner” crowd.  But still, she was nice to me and Dawn really seemed to like her.

It was not long before Shawn suggested we go to visit her boyfriend and his two other friends.  They could pick us up, she said, because the boyfriend drove.

Now I am not sure I can explain the magnitude to us as fourteen year olds of hanging out with a fifteen year old girl and her seventeen year old boyfriend.  Each year at that age seemed like a lifetime, a well earned badge of honor.  To be seen as older was the biggest compliment you could give a girl of our age.  To think older boys wanted to spend time with us was…heady.

Dawn and I eagerly accepted the invitation and it wasn’t long before an older Oldsmobile rolled up to Shawn’s house ready to take us out.

We went back to the boyfriend’s house and as the hours ticked away, it was suggested that we might try to get permission to stay out later.  “How late?”  I asked.

“Late.  That’s not a problem for you guys, is it?”

Dawn and I exchanged glances.  We’d done this before, back when we spent the night at the tree fort.  We knew exactly what to do to both get permission to stay out at a place that we didn’t exactly what to share with our parents.  “No problem,” we answered in unison.  We each called home, offering the same story that we’d been asked to spend the night at each others’ houses.  No caller ID back then, so no one suspected that we weren’t exactly where we said we’d be.

I gulped as I hung up the phone.  What had we gotten ourselves into?


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