I remember I was about thirteen or so, and on my way to NY to spend July with my dad and “Miss Piggy,” my stepmother. I was miserable, of course, with the prospect of spending 31 whole days with them, not to mention all that time away from my friends & the beach. However, I was resigned to the unavoidable, and so I filled the nine hour trip by staring out the window as I listened to my Sony Walkman, finding solace in the musical renderings of Winger, Def Leppard, and Ratt.
The backseat was my refuge and I fantasized as I watched the scenery fly by, daydreaming mostly about horses and boys and escaping to the freedom that lay just beyond the window glass. While my father navigated the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I flew just out of reach, my long tangled hair whipping my face as I raced on a stallion as dark as night, hooves barely touching the red clay ground.
As my eyes traveled over the wooded hills and cliffs that bordered the expressway, my thoughts lost in a different world entirely, I was slammed back into the present quite rudely by the sight of a teenaged boy about my age, high on a hillside, pants around his ankles, equipment swinging in the breeze.
He seemed to be exhibiting himself to the passing cars on the turnpike, but he was so high up, no one would have even noticed him unless they were staring out the window as I had been doing. He looked happy, as evidenced by the huge smile on his face, and he waved at us as we passed by, our eyes meeting for the merest fraction of a second. I was so stunned at the strangeness of such a sight, I couldn’t even began to tell my parents in the front seat what I had just witnessed. They’d have never believed me.
And I realized oddly enough, I didn’t want to tell them. It was almost like I shared a secret with this boy. Some weird kinship wrought from longing and the purest essence of freedom. Although I didn’t really understand what this strange kid was up to, I felt instinctively somehow that it went beyond an inclination for perversion, that this rebellious act was actually a grasping for some deeper truth or meaning in life. A one person riot in the face of conformity, he was expressing not only his desire for freedom, but freedom as he felt it to be.
But then again, maybe he was just some whack job exposing himself. Who knows.