Being 18 is like

having a cavity you can’t seem to stop tonguing. You go over everything endlessly: the fumbling grit of mistakes, your heart’s little stutters. You can’t help but watch yourself in windows. You’re like an anthropologist studying the tribe of Yourself.

You want to get the bitter out of your mouth. You start coveting sweets (the way a crow craves tin foil). You try Listerine and lemon but nothing does it for you. You start palming orange Tic-Tacs and little boxes of candied mango. Ever the guilty kid, now something in you waxes, some moon inside you grows thinner and your pockets seem bigger. You are taking all the sweet you feel you deserve.

You start to wear sweetheart dresses and too much blush. You read and discuss Gothic literature. You fall asleep on the bus. You read and discuss Andrew Jackson. Make flashcards that you don’t study. Fall asleep on the bus. You pretend every day is the day you put the Tic-Tacs back on the shelf, that little box chattering like teeth in the pocket of your varsity jacket. You always hold your breath for luck on the way out. You always wave to the cute cashier. She always waves back.

And then you are, suddenly, magically: gone.