Knowing When This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Tank tops, boxer shorts, newly-designed hairdos andfaces painted with all the wrong shades of make-up: another Saturday nightslumber party with best friends. Julie, Molly and I had been friends sinceJulie's mom forgot to pack her a snack the first day of fourth grade. Friendsalready, Molly and I agreed to share our half-eaten granola bars and chocolatemilk with the new girl. None of us would ever have guessed that this act ofkindness would lead to many potato chip-filled, secret-sharingnights.

Tonight, however, was different. We were edgy and nervous, quickto snap at each other. The carefree make-up escapades were over as we each triedto look our best and ravaged Molly's bathroom for the perfect shade of eyeshadow. I stepped back once to notice the chaos that had engulfed us, but wasquickly snapped out of it as Julie snatched the mascara from my hand. Molly,realizing Julie now possessed the key to long, luscious lashes, quickly chasedafter her. I chuckled as I watched my two best friends run out thedoor.

Our playfulness had returned, and I joined in the wrestling match onthe bed, the prize no longer mascara but the pure enjoyment of friendship. Wewere interrupted by the doorbell, and shrieked with anticipation. They're here! Ithought. Rolling off the bed, we pushed and shoved for a small corner of themirror to check our hair and makeup. With the second ring we cavorted down to thefront door and anxiously waited for Molly to open it. She hesitated and looked atus uneasily. After all, we weren't just opening her front door, but a whole newera. Once this door was opened there would be dating, holding hands, kissing andheartbreak. The third ring reminded us that we couldn't back out now. Mollyopened the door to three sweaty-palmed boys, obviously as nervous as we, andinvited them in.

Gathering in the living room, the three of usstrategically placed ourselves around the table so that we were each next to theboy of our dreams. After sitting in silence for a minute, Molly offered drinksand all three boys accepted, probably out of hope that it would sparkconversation. Julie, Molly and I glided toward the kitchen attempting to look asgraceful as possible, but fell all over each other as we reached it, babbling inhushed whispers about "our boys." Regaining composure we stepped backinto the spotlight and rejoined them at the table.

"Got anycards?"

"Um, yeah, just a minute," Molly said as she leanedover and reached in a desk drawer. "Here you are," she said, flashing asmile as she handed them over.

"Poker, anyone?" one of the boyssuggested. The three of us shot glances at each other knowing full well that noneof us knew much about poker.

"Sure," Julie said, flashing asmile in her crush's direction. I looked at the boy sitting next to me and smiledat him, almost out of obligation. Picking up my cards, I looked at them with ablank stare, not sure how they could work together to meananything.

"Hey," the boy next to me said. "Look what I'vegot." Pulling a joint out of his pocket, he rolled it between his fingers asthough admiring a precious gem. "I stole it from my brother's room, but hewon't notice, he has tons. Wanna try it?" He thrust it toward me. All Icould do was look at it. I tried to say something, but when I opened my mouth,all that came out was air.

"Pass it this way," one of theother boys said. Lighting it, he took a puff and passed it to Julie. Nervously,she took it and inhaled. Not knowing what to expect, she inhaled too much andended up coughing.

"Here, let me try," Molly said, grabbingthe joint from Julie.

"Alright, but let's play," one of the boyssaid, retrieving his cards from the table. Everyone else followed his lead andpicked up their cards. Molly put the joint to her lips, inhaled and coughed justas Julie had. The boy between us laughed as he picked up the joint after Mollydropped it and took a puff himself. It was my turn next. A hundred excuses andreasons ran through my mind. Focused on my cards, the red and black became ablur. I laid my cards face down on the table.

"I fold." Gettingup I grabbed my coat. It was their turn to watch me walk out the door.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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