The moment you knew you were no longer a child

The last time I saw her, she wore an oversized sweatshirt and tight, faded jeans. She sat in the back of the classroom looking painfully bored. She had just come back from yet another stint in rehab. She was gone a week later.

She had always been a cool girl, a troublemaker, like a character right out of the movie Thirteen or the book Go Ask Alice. She lost her virginity at a young age, drank alcohol at a young age, smoked weed at a young age, and started wearing sexy lingerie at a very young age and, for a few months in the sixth grade, she was my best friend.

That summer put a few holes in my idyllic, Stepford-esque, upper middle class, suburban childhood bubble.  There were multiple moments during my time spent with her that could be considered the moment I was no longer a child. My curfew was later, my shorts were shorter, and the way I talked to boys was flirtier. However, there is one specific moment that sticks out the most in my mind.

We were walking around our town’s shopping center. I did not have a cell phone at the time but I wore a tiny purse that held my wallet, gum, lip-gloss, and a small pack of tissues. I also had on an inappropriate amount of makeup for a twelve year old that my mother would later have “a talk” about with me.

We stopped in front of Victoria’s Secret. I looked up at the big pink lettering. I stared at the pictures of the “ beautiful, blond, bombshells” in the window. I thought to myself, I’m too young for this but my badass friend seemed to think differently. She waltzed right in to the Pink section, stopped in front of the underwear table, and quickly pulled out five different thongs. THONGS.

There I stood, suddenly feeling like my Limited Too undergarments were shining through for the world to see. I awkwardly walked around the store trying to act as casual as possible. I couldn’t giggle at the mannequins or gawk at the crotchless panties. I had to be cool.

A few minutes later, my friend came up to me surprised that I hadn’t bought anything yet. Cool girls don’t just window shop; they buy thongs. Overwhelmed by the large selection, I took an extra small, hot pink thong and crushed it in my fist. Only, I couldn’t just buy one thong; that’s much too embarrassing. I was convinced every Victoria Secret employee would judge me to no end. So, I also grabbed a cotton tank covered in pink stars and practically ran to the check out counter.

I hid the Victoria Secret bag in my closet for weeks until I was ready to tell my mother the news that I was no longer a child. Even then, I only told her about the tank top. I hid the thong in my underwear drawer where it remained until the day I threw it out.

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