Take Me Home
From The Rumpus:
We inexplicably had a jukebox in the cafeteria of my high school, and somebody obsessed with Guns N’ Roses’s “Paradise City” played it during lunch period every single day for a year. Punk, new wave, and grunge had already come and gone; Kurt Cobain was dead. Which is to say it was an old song even then. But it still brings me back to high school when I hear it now—to square, pasty pizza slices and paper cartons of chocolate milk, french fries and tater tots, and the sickening smell of cheap sugary industrial ketchup.
I remember my classmates being scandalized by the English teacher—a woman in her forties—who wore short skirts. “Disgusting,” they said, “She’s so slutty. Nobody wants to see that.” But when I had her as a teacher myself, I noticed that even if her skirts were short, she wore them with heavy opaque tights, so that she hardly ever showed actual skin at all.
Outside of school I remember hugs, kisses, shoves, swats, wrestles, gropes, tickles. Sitting close together and puppy-piling on couches and in cars. Skinny dipping. Fooling around. Spin-the-bottling. Kissing everyone. Kissing boys, girls, friends, strangers. Once, Naomi and I sat at my kitchen table and made lists of the people we’d kissed and then we asked each other if we were sluts. I was kiss-crazy. Kissing was the best part of everything.