Passage


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Rites are supposed to be heavy, large things. Difficult to carry or pass through. Empty stomach and a bulging suitcase as you make your way out of your mother's arms in a way that feels final. Empty stomach and a bulging glass as you taste your first aphrodisiac—two rites, two empty stomachs in the same night. Empty stomach and empty living room and bulging boxes as you move into a new space, your space.

Rites are supposed to be vaguely religious things. Involving water and wine. Sometimes the latter followed by copious amounts of the first. Sometimes neither, just an illicit sip of caffeine when your parents raised you Mormon. Maybe you still remember your first rated R movie, sitting in the dark of your bedroom, wondering with each word JK Simmons uttered if you should turn it off. Pushing through Miles Tellers' bleeding knuckles and your own bleeding heart, calling you a sinner.

Rites are things you tell your diary about, tell your best friend about, want to shout from off the top of Mount Timpanogos. The strangely untethered feeling you get when finally, at age 20, you have your first kiss. The trembling of your fingers against the steering wheel when your first kiss teaches you how to drive a car in the abandoned church parking lot. It's midnight, and you're really not supposed to be alone with a boy. At least not according to Sunday School.

But rites also the tiny, seemingly insignificant things. The chewy Snickers bar as it lies in the palm of your brown hand. The taste, next, of the nougat, salty for some reason. The thought that you've never liked Snickers but always picked them up as a treat for mom. The remembering that she's 7,000 miles away. The nutty, bittersweet taste of being on your own.
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