90s Cipri

Turning Sweet Sixteen
by Ava C. Cipri

My first job, as in filling out tax forms and receiving a W-2. I just turned 16, and was driving my brother’s red Buick Skylark station wagon. I landed my job in a sporting goods store, Herman’s, in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. It was suburbia, a few miles from my inner city residence. I remember lying about my favorite subjects to land it, saying algebra and chemistry. Let’s face it no one wanted a cashier that favored literature. I remember applying because I wanted the discount; I had my eye on a new tennis racket. In truth, there was a certain guy in the tennis department. Standing from the register strip-searching everything for security tags, I’d look back at him stringing rackets watching his wavy blonde bangs fall across his face. It was epic; just like that barn stall scene from The Princess Bride when Leslie looks through his bangs at Princess Buttercup and says, “as you wish.” His name was Dave. He was three years my senior, 19, and I had never desired anything so much.

One night, after closing, the car’s cassette deck blasting the Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, I backed into a delivery truck. After assessing the minor damage, I turned around. Dave was in the dark, and it began to rain. This is where I fall in love. There, in the pouring down rain, we stood soaked talking for nearly a half-hour; I can’t remember the conversation, only neither of us pulled away. Back in his Oldsmobile shivering it was the first time I heard the Dead Milkmen and The Sex Pistols. It was the first time I clung to a man’s body drowning out the world to Sid Vicious crooning “My Way”; steaming up the windows.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Sixteen-year-old-me (trying to look older) in early 90s with either New Order or Erasure playing in the background. The photo was taken by a friend and partner in crime; we were experimenting with hair, makeup, and fashion before going out.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I knew immediately when writing about my first job that it meant writing about my first love. At first it was difficult to reign in the writing because there were so many memories from the drafting process brought up, but I focused on the most pertinent.

Current Cipri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ava C. Cipri is a poetry editor for The Deaf Poets Society: An Online Journal of Disability Literature & Art. Ava holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where she served on the staff of Salt Hill. Her poetry and nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in decomP, FRiGG, Literary Orphans, Noble / Gas Qtrly, and Room, among others. Ava’s first chapbook Queen of Swords is forthcoming this fall 2017 from dancing girl press. In her sister-life she is a Reiki practitioner, belly dancer, dog trainer and collects tarot decks. She resides at avaccipri.com and tweets at @AvaCCipri.