Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It used to be easier to be naked.

In fact, for a time, it happened more often than not. Any spare night stuck in a small town with nothing to do and no bad habits to speak of just yet.

It started with sneaking out a back window of my parent's house, one by one throwing off the blankets clasped tightly over our bare skin, and then making a mad dash, blind with fear, around the house- Returning to our discarded blankets and desperately throwing them over ourselves again, pulling them tight and brandishing them like shields against the dark, our howls of laughter piercing the silent night, wild, possessed, under a full moon.

As risk goes, the stakes grew ever higher.  The ventures escalated so as to continue bringing the desired feeling of recklessness and hysteria.

We'd be breathless with our daring, sprinting single file or ambling slowly, intentionally, in a pack. In the local parks of town or the streets that pulsed like veins through our parents' neighborhoods. It was always late, but not quite late enough to insure not being spotted.

The prospect of getting caught was a constant roaring in our ears. The looming fear of getting caught was half the fun.

Rhyme and reason had no place in our exploits. When you're young, you're still fast enough to get away from them. We were young.

One night, at the public park in town, we crept completely unclothed over the long wooden bridge, spanning the river that split the sprawling fields and forest in half on either side, and faced the more public side of the park boldly, daring our most exhibitionary friend to run a lap around the bathroom structure, 100 yards away. Every time we'd push each other further, try to stretch the limits, or maybe it was simply to see if there were any at all. She took off under the dim orange of night fought by streetlamp and we whisper-screamed to her in encouragement and excitement. Jumping up and down, our white bodies too young still to bounce or vibrate once we ceased our celebratory leaps.

Skinny girls, naked in the dark. Afraid of nothing, or naive enough to know we were the exception rather than the rule. We haunted the town with our careless streaks through the night; at least anyone who spotted us blurring through the horizon probably thought we were ghosts.

Suddenly the plink! plink! plink! of bike tires on the bridge, low words of encouragement from father to son, two bikes passing us from above unknowingly as we struggled to tumble silently into the leaves, rocks, and mud below. A narrow escape.

Then, everything shaking all around with barely contained laughter billowing from our every pore as we laid sprawled in various states of bruised and battered discomfort at the bottom of the hill. Our stranded friend crouched in the bushes, timing perfectly coincided to have her arrival at the building give her necessary shelter. We crawled up the hill like swamp things, feeling blindly for each others fingers and limbs, emerging to find her slinking back to us in the dark. Near silence as we crept across the bridge back to our stranded vehicle in the dark. The hasty pulling on of shorts and popping of our heads through tshirts punctuated with breathless exclamations of everything racing through our minds during our almost-confrontation.

And then windows down and loud, loud music as we fled the scene publicly, daring anyone to care or take notice.

It used to be easier to be naked.

But I'll gladly take modesty if it means retaining the friendships our bold tomfoolery rooted deeply. These are my people. They are my home.

What did you do in high school?

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