Your hand slaps against the screen-covering of your iPod Touch as it blares “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift. 7:00 is arguably too early to hear such upbeat pop music, but you are not a morning person at all so it usually helps a little bit to wake up to your favorite new song. You decide this morning, however, that you’re feeling especially groggy, and maybe Taylor should’ve stuck to country music.
To cheer yourself up, you start picking out an outfit: obviously you’re going to wear your neon-yellow high-top Converse, and to match those, you go with a pair of blue leggings and a pink baby tee with a little butterfly in the center. You look in the mirror and decide it’s going to be a good day. You look and feel good, and you want to smell good, so you grab your Teen Spirit deodorant and swipe it vigorously under each of your underarms. Mom doesn’t usually like it when you wear mascara, but you’re in the mood today, so you dab Maybelline Great Lash on your lashes and when a spot gets on your eyelids you try to rub it off with your thumb. It doesn’t really work. You look in the mirror again and decide that you look good today, like one of the older girls, and you pin a barrette in your curly hair to keep it out of your eyes. You plug your earbuds into your iPod, tie your shoes in preparation for your walk to Whitman Middle School, and grab a bar on your way out the door. As you walk outside and turn the corner of your cul-de-sac, “Die Young” by Kesha ringing through your earbuds, you smile and wave to your little neighbor Sasha, and wonder if she knows how small she looks to you right now.
Your first class of the day is Biology, and you sit down at your assigned seat in the back of the class. Your lab partner, Chase, saunters into class three minutes late. He walks with an aura of Axe Body Spray and preteen overconfidence, and you secretly swoon as he sits down next to you. Today isn’t a lab day, so you and Chase aren’t going to be able to talk, but you play Tic-Tac-Toe in the margins of your notebook as Mrs. Hofstaeder lectures about Punnett Squares. As you go back and forth, writing clumsy Xs and Os in even clumsier squares, you imagine what a Punnett Square with your traits and Chase’s would look like: would your baby get his piercing brown eyes, or the dimple on your left cheek? You don’t know the answer, but you do know that you will never like any boy as much as you like Chase.
Today you have lunch with your friends Isha and Nikki, and as you eat turkey and cheese sandwiches from bright botanical lunch boxes, you ponder the philosophical: are Selena and Justin together, or are they broken up again? Is One Direction going on tour, and if so, are they coming here? Would Nikki’s strict parents let her see Pitch Perfect when it comes out? You debate about important subjects: none of you can agree on whether you’re all Team Peeta or Team Gale, but you unanimously decide that you’re Team Edward and not Team Jacob. After 25 minutes of gossip and giggling, the bell rings for your next class, and you’re sucked back into the monotony of American History.
When your day ends, you and Nikki decide to skip track practice and go straight home. On your walk back, Nikki raves about this she is reading called The Fault in Our Stars and talking about how much it wants to make her smoke a cigarette. You haven’t read it, but you know that in a couple months everyone will be reading it. Nikki is always ahead of the trends––it’s one of the things you love about her. You walk on sidewalks, past identical brick houses and meticulously planted trees, but you’re too young to hate the suburbs. That part of your life will come later, when you and Nikki grow up and stop wearing such bright colors, when both One Direction and Selena and Justin split for good, when you trade J-14 magazines for heavy high school textbooks. Nikki talks about how she wants to have her first kiss this summer, and it makes you realize how far you are from being an adult but how you feel too old to be a kid, also. It makes you feel a bit uneasy, and you know you’ll get home and immediately wipe the flakes of mascara from under your eyes so you can sit with your head in Mom’s lap. But for now you walk, and as the music of the pop princesses of 2012 blares from Nikki’s iPod, the world is cast aglow with what can only be described as the glimmering ecstasy of the in-between.
Creative Direction Josie Zimmerman, Faith Phillips, Ali Meltzer
Words Ali Meltzer
Photographs Ella Dassin, Owen Rokous
Stylists Josie Zimmerman, Faith Phillips
Featuring Faith Phillips
Armour Magazine Season 28 — F/S 2022