Roosevelt Field Mall was close, but by no means a walk. We had to take the bus, and when you’re a tweenager on Long Island, you don’t know from buses, never mind finding a bus schedule. My friends and I were accustomed to phone calls, drop-offs, and pick-ups by the mothers who juggled hair salon appointments with tennis court times. We knew collect calls from, “Pick Us Up Now.” Half-days of school were our half-days of freedom. When our parents weren’t available as transportation, we took the bus to the mall so we could see movies and meet boys with long hair (ew) to make out with in the back of them. Wet & Wild blue eyeliner, #44 lip gloss, bangs. Walmart had a photograph booth with a seat that twisted for portraits. We’d layer in, pushing to see, trying to quell our insecurities with laughter. Dangly earrings and leather aviator jackets, splatter painted jeans, airbrushed t-shirts with rhinestone edges, Champion sweatshirts cut with scissors; we were mini-adults, dressed in college gear, before we even knew what to do with a tampon. We linked arms after Sbarros pizza, speaking of science homework, ions, and band, yet we still felt like grownups in E.G. Smith bunchy socks and Keds. Near the arcade, we scribbled our numbers on scraps of paper and gave them to boys with earrings and ripped jeans, older boys named Seth with mild acne and winged hair. The freedom tasted like the garden’s first sugar-snap pea, innocent and sweet.