My mother never knew that I used to spend my summer evenings getting wasted behind the Safeway. There was a big parking lot there, and all my friends were stockboys, so that's where we went. They unloaded the flats during the day, and they would stack them up so that there would be nice places for us to sit when we got there. We sat around by the back steps of the Safeway and drank cases and cases of cheap beer.
I used to walk to the far part of the parking lot with my boyfriend, whichever one he was at the time, and we'd share a joint and compete to see who was the bravest with the semi-public displays of affection. Sometimes we would just talk, though, and he would tell me how he ended up hanging out behind the Safeway. A lot of them had some real sob stories: mothers who didn't love them, or discouraging teachers and guidance counselors who advised them that their only options were manual labor or enlistment. A couple of them were just spoiled, and thought that drinking shitty beer behind the Safeway was some kind of rebellion. But me, I was the one who did it just to do something, slurping my Bud Light from the can and letting the summer night take me wherever it pleased.
Was I bored? Sure. Was I tired? Of course. Did I have a story that would make me rest my head in my hands as I imparted it to my boyfriend du jour? No. I was just the girl who listened as the buzz settled in and the long night behind the Safeway became a quiet therapy session for boy after boy. I don't think I loved any of them, but I listened as though I did. It was many years before I grew weary of always being along for the ride.