A year later I was in seventh grade. 1998. It was a Saturday in my friend’s basement. We were seated in a circle playing Magic: the Gathering when Hootie and the Blowfish’s Cracked Rear View ended. Reuben got up and opened his backpack that had been lying crumpled on the olive green recliner. A classmate had lent him an album. Something called Evil Empire.
My mouth watered, my head instinctively bobbed, my spine alternated in waves of heat and chills. It was as if the dynamo at my core was stuck on, spinning faster and faster, my body barely keeping it from tearing through my chest. There was no going back.