Save the Words reminds me of a time when K – my dearest girlhood friend, formally introduced over coconut snowballs and drawings of tigers when we were thirteen – and I tried to revive ‘groovy’ in our quest to be, somehow, even more socially unapproachable than we already were. I borrowed the complete Woodstock recordings from the library, read The Feminine Mystique, and we lectured our acquaintances on how to properly draw a peace sign.
We wrote stories. Our alter-egos were not only British but also teenagers in 1969, which seemed to our sheltered understanding the height of times to Be Young. My parents smoked more weed than we ever did, which is to say, a lot and none, respectively, but K and I walked the walk in thrifted bell bottoms, embroidered peasant blouses, and tinted sunglasses, and talked the talk as much as any awkward fifteen year old can. The closest we came to substance abuse was Dr. Pepper, but we both learned to play the guitar, and for one of her school projects we recorded a video of Mercutio’s monologue as two enlightenment seeking hippies in an opium den.
Free love was out of the question. I couldn’t talk to boys, and I took every disease-ridden slide in abstinence education more than seriously. Herpes was real and it was forever, unlike any expression of love between adolescents. When I finally did get around to kissing someone, I didn’t feel Just Like a Woman. I felt like a kid, and he felt like he was giving me an oral exam (literally).
I don’t wish to be helctic. Suffice to say my gipseian tendencies today better prepare me for a commune than my teenage dreams of hand-holding, vegan cookies, and rock ‘n roll. Provided it has wi-fi and stand mixers, of course.