Pop is our favourite word. We listen to pop music, eat popcorn, suck popsicles and lollipops. You pop over to mine and we watch TV until we fall asleep on the sofa, bubble gum wrappers stuck to our faces.
It was the lipsticks that gave it away.
“How can you afford them all?” you said looking at their glistening bodies scattered along the bottom of my draw like seashells.
“I can’t,” I said and your eyes flickered and your skin was powdery and smooth like a mannequin’s.
We dare each other to go one step further on our weekly missions. I walk into a department store and walk out in a new coat. You lift a bedside lamp and put it in your shopping bag. The closet in the attic spills ‘borrowed’ clothes onto the carpet. We parade in front of each other, sucking in our cheeks, pretending to be supermodels.
“What do you girls do up there?” Mum shouts up the stairs. When we giggle in response, it sounds like happiness.
This is how this will end. We will be called to the principal’s office. Our mothers will look concerned. We will be embarrassed. We won’t be allowed to speak to each other. I’ll be relieved. But, when a new class mistress sits us at the same desk, you will write the word awkward in my notepad and I will flop it closed – the sound of a bubble popping.
Or perhaps this will never end and, when I come to your baby shower, I’ll bring a dozen pocket sized items as a present. You will then ask with your eyes only. I will wink and, for the first time in my life, I will know exactly what I want to be.