On What I Think Of When I Hear Bon Jovi On The Radio

They had big hair. Teased and sprayed and coaxed toward the heavens, as self-consciously pursed lips stared back from the mirror. That much I know for sure.

The rest is a mix of memories. A haze of images that have changed and faded and become sewn together in my mind over time. There’s a large house, open and spacious with towering ceilings. Everything is made of rich wood hues and the smell of the forest, nature and lumber and the scent of wet dirt, follow you inside. I climb stairs that are too tall for me, the distance between them too great. I am small and my knees come up to kiss my chin as I step from one stair to the next, upward and upward for what feels like an eternity. Toward the top floor of the house. Toward the sound of music smashing against itself. Clambering, racing to fill all the empty spaces in the upstairs rooms with the noise of electric guitars and the echo of drums.

In one room, posters of Jon Bon Jovi plaster the walls and “Living on Prayer” blares from stereo speakers. In another, Axl Rose screeches from a boom box and pictures of Slash stare down at me from all sides. Danielle stands in front of one mirror. Tara in front of another. My cousin’s, so much older than me, done up in Aqua Net and brightly painted lips, singing along silently, mouthing the words to their respective favorite songs. I watch as they push their hair higher, brush blue powder across their lids, and sway their hips with the music. I can’t wait to be a grownup.

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