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All the following events are described quite as I remember them. But I could be wrong, as it’s been 10 years since then. They took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I must add here that I do not intend to advertise the use of drugs nor estimulate anyone to do it. It was an inconsequent and foolish night in which many bad things could have happened.

Ah, the delight of life without cares when one is very young. I was only 13 years old then, but I fancied myself all grown up. My parents, however, had a different point of view. Not being bold enough to face them, I chose the obvious way out: lies. Don't look at me like that! (Actually, don't look at the screen like that!). We've all been there, the teen lying years.

On that particular night, I had two birthday parties to attend. But also my grandmother was away on business travel, for she worked until her last healthy day. She was kind enough to give the keys to her apartment to my older sister, who was 16 at the time. I don't know what came over her to do such a risky move, but I’m sure she had no idea to what this would lead us.

I told my parents that I was going to get dressed at a friend’s house and my mother even drove me there. I guess she suspected something, because she could not be discouraged to do that. So I called my friend and she played her part, by taking me into the house. My mother went away and I escaped to my granny’s house. My sister, who is actually a half-sister, said to our father that she was going to her mother’s house. Her back was covered.

We invited two of our friends, nice-looking young boys, to join us in our granny's apartment and have a little pre-party gathering. Their names were Ivan and Guilherme. Although I cannot say our intentions were entirely pure, my sister and me were a little innocent at the time when it came to sex. We did not have it in our minds and it did not happen (so you can stop reading now, if that's what you're looking for).

However, what did happen was the consumption of a whole lot of marijuana. We used two of those little round cases of photographic film (those that come inside the package of standard Kodak films) full of grass, rolling on the floor laughing our heads off, completely and utterly stoned. It was fun and we were care free, running around the house, playing the unavoidable The Doors’ and Pink Floyd’s records. I felt like the most attractive and daring girl in the world.

That’s when we made our first mistake: instead of waiting for the effects to cool down, we set out for the first party. It was a childhood friend of mine and he was a character. The most fanatic Madonna fan I’ve ever seen, he used to be discriminated by other boys for not being rude enough. His love of Madonna did not help his reputation and soon everybody assumed he was gay. Not that we knew what it meant, but that’s the way it was.

His name was W. and he did not approve of drugs or the rock n’ roll life style I used to dream about. Imagine then the impact we caused of this dark room, four youths stoned out of their minds, careless and paranoid, laughing way too loud at the clothes of others. It was not pretty. W.’s mother and aunt were particularly angry, though I couldn’t think why at the time. W. played Guns N’ Roses songs – it was 93, it was still fashionable to do so – and we indulged in sexy dancing, horrifying the puritans at the party. It was a fiasco and we were soon out of there.

But getting out of that neighborhood proved to be impossible for airheads such as us. The streets are very sinuous and were very dark that night. I was not familiar with them. The others were utterly useless at that point. It was this way that we suddenly found ourselves in front of a police battalion and object of suspicious looks from the security guard on duty. We were lost and there was no one else on the street. The only way out was to go to him and ask for directions. But this could make him even more suspicious of us.

Picture three 16-year-olds and a 13-year-old who looked 15 walking on a dark street at midnight, without an adult, laughing and bumping into each other, still very much stoned. Not very wise.

Our good fortune was the fact that this is not at all uncommon around here. Also, the police has bigger fish to fry and usually ignores petty crimes – unless they see a way of getting bribed. As that was not the case, although I realize now that the policeman should have stopped us and taken us home, I was relieved to be left in peace after we did find the courage to ask directions.

We were very near a bigger street and pretty soon we were on a bus, heading for the next party. The bus ride was not smooth, though. It was empty and we spread out on the benches, screaming to each other and saying nonsense out loud. A couple of street kids were also on the bus, with their characteristic ragged clothes and bare feet. They moved around us, circling us discretely. For anyone watching, it was quite clear they intended to mug us. That’s when I, completely unaware of them, noticed a shiny metal thing on the hand of one of them.

Sure enough, I froze. I never had many problems with homeless people, although they are abundant in Rio and usually mug others to survive. But I’ve heard enough stories on the news about people getting killed for little money, R$ 10 (that would be less than 6 dollars). The shiny thing could only be a knife and that meant trouble. The driver and the collector of the bus would not get involved in this, whatever the outcome. We were on our own and we were middle-class, spoiled kids who had never been in a fight.

Soon my sister and our two gorgeous friends were aware of the kids too, but we couldn’t move without raising suspicions. And the bus was heading to a tunnel, the perfect spot for a robbery. We had to act quickly.

At this moment, I felt so lucky that I’m so close to my sister and we can understand each other without words. I signaled to her that we should get up and leave the bus before the tunnel, on the last stop. But we should only do this at the last minute possible. It was a suggestion of Ivan, who was by my side at this moment. So we all prepared to run, in case the street kids were willing to insist.

Fortunately, they weren’t. We got off the bus safely and quickly, and the street kids did nothing but shout at us from the windows. The marijuana, the drinks and the tension got to me. My knees were visibly shaking. I could see in everybody else’s eyes that they were shaken as well, so we took our time at the bus stop, merely breathing in silence.

Eventually, we got to the second party as it was ending. A few more drinks made us feel at ease again and our pride could not keep our mouths shut. We tried to impress our friends with our saga and managed to do it, until everybody was bored of hearing it. For a week, though, my sister and I were quite popular at school and that alone made it all worth it. Ah, the delight of life without cares when one is very young...

This node was made to enter the iceowl's adventure quest

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