Me and Risa go to a Taylor Swift concert and everything is flooded with pink light. Taylor sings something pretty about football fields and suburban porches in July and electric wrists. We are nothing more than dusk.
Risa is a homework slave, but she is luminescent here, a summer storm in a sequined skirt. Shimmies like she’s fifteen and scorned in the back of some frat bro’s truck, when the truth is neither of us even had dates to junior prom. All the best stories start with the same lie.
Afterwards, when the confetti winks on our shoulders and the crowd swarms like crows to the exits, we’re thinking of our mothers, how they’re sitting in their kitchens with cups of Darjeeling tea with the cool air steeping in slow, waiting past midnight for our footsteps. Our unfinished physics notes, how every action has an equal and opposite reaction, all these unspoken forces in the universe that write us forward. Every promise we made before birth—to be shiny, to sharpen our smudged edges, to prove that our parents’ sacrifices didn’t go to waste. Risa, don’t you know we can’t ever be the girls in the music videos, the ones who sneak out to kiss frosted-hair boys and dance on sticky tabletops.
Rona Wang is an eighteen-year-old sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying mathematics with computer science. Her writing is featured in Teen Vogue, The L.A. Times, The Sierra Nevada Review, The Best Teen Writing, and The Adroit Journal. She is originally from Portland, Oregon.