Jackson, Tennessee, 2015

After I paid my co-pay and got my prescription refill, I navigated the Walgreens parking lot, like a bumper car ride at the fair.  Once I turned on the four lane, I felt excited to hear Hot Child in the City, a song by Nick Gilder from the seventies, on the oldies station. I sang softly, moved my shoulders back and forth, and flexed my cheeks in the seat. As usual, I yielded at the flashing light before turning and heading into our subdivision, a spread of thousands of look-alike houses with just enough variation to offer a hint of difference and fool prospective buyers they had a unique home.

I heard clapping in the backseat and glanced in the rear view mirror to see my pre-teen son and daughter gyrating around to the music and lip syncing lyrics. Like my own parents who switched subjects when I walked into their bedroom when they were engaged in a private conversation they didn’t want me to hear, I turned the knob to quieten the song and engaged them in topics with which they were interested: xbox games, school, and neighborhood friends. It worked, and they chattered away while I listened more intently about the hot child, a young teen I assumed, running wild and looking pretty in a city where boys wanted to take her home for sex. I hoped neither child remembered the song, remembered I sung and moved to it in the car, and most importantly, I hoped neither of them would run wild like the hot child.

As I pulled into the driveway, another seventies oldie came on the radio – You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate, and I pressed the knob to turn the radio completely off. I changed the memories of downing vodka laced drinks, dancing in a smoke-filled bar, and running wild out of consciousness and focused on book bags, homework, baths, and supper.


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