But here it is and the beast is yours. It’s wrapped its furry arms around you and is squeezing. Handcuffs, heavy and cold have been placed on your skinny wrists, and your sister’s pretty grey fuzzy sweater isn’t keeping out early March in Ohio.
The back of the cruiser smells like you’d think it would smell, and now your vanilla smell is mixing with testosterone and sweat that lives deep in the vinyl backseat. You wonder if the cop who sits in the front writing your name and age and address with a cheap pen can smell fear.
He’s big, and handsome in a very blonde and very thick way. Even in your semi-inebriated and frightened state you can tell that he’s someone you would want to feel against your hips. You’d want him to press down hard.
Eighteen is a rough, course, violent age. You’re expected to have the brain of an adult, and your body is supposed to fall into line. Underneath all that taut skin is a wobbling mass of hormonal jello that can’t say no to a drink or a fuck or a pull. The mind knows that it’s not a good idea to go to parties where you don’t know anyone (though your cousin claims to know the girl who lives there, it turns out of course she doesn’t). Your mind tells your body to run, you silly girl run! when someone starts playing Low Rider on the stereo (which is never, ever a good omen). All the boys are wearing ball caps sideways on their shaved heads and the girls are all in tight jeans. Every one is very white and very young and very loud and you don’t belong there. But they have alcohol, and that’s the one thing your young mind holds on to. Give your body enough to drink and smoke and soon even you will claim to enjoy football or riding in pickup trucks with boys who smell faintly of manure and strongly of cologne bought with their mother’s money. You will pretend. You will be what they want because they are feeding you what you need.
When the party is split in two, when the atoms all shake and separate, you are grabbed by the arm roughly by the handsome cop and you are asked your age. Your cousin, the one who used to brush your hair and run through sprinklers with you until both of your wet bodies were covered in fresh-cut grass clippings, has run out of the stranger’s back door and is hiding behind a big dark tree. She’s smiling a little and you can see her in the blue of the floodlights. The house is small and so are you. You tell the one that holds you that you are eighteen, and that you don’t live in this town.
You used to be cute, you know. You used to think the sky was blue. Then you poured too much wine all over yourself, you spilled it. And these strangers don’t think that you’re pretty and they don’t care that you’re smart.