The night before L’s last finals. On the way to help her study, I get dinner at Chipotle. I try to Shazam the background music, but there’s too much interference from the ambient noise. I check the app’s Top 100 list, and note that I’ve never heard of most of the acts. I could blame my ignorance on old-fogeyism, but actually I haven’t followed popular music since my early teens. I watch the brown, long-legged girls in their short shorts and white tank tops giggle as they fill their cups with fizzy sugar water. I was never one of them, though at one point, long ago, I wanted to be.
Then a few hours with my own long-legged girl. My red-headed stepchild. We drill vocab. Aesthetic. Ascetic. Prodigious. Ponderous. Desecrate. Elucidate. Depravity. Autonomy. We roll them in our mouths, euphoniously, and find links between word and definition, ways to remember.
This is the girl I was.
This is the girl I still am.