I stood on the sidewalk outside of the youth group meeting spot, talking to Carrie. Inside, rowdy teens piled on sofas or chased each other around for the last few minutes before their parents arrived to pick them up. Out here it was a warm, quiet evening on Market Street in downtown Dayton, a place where all the shops closed at 5.
The door opened, releasing the sounds of laughter and one small child. She stalked up to us and stood toe-to-toe with me, staring up at my face.
"Are you a skater?" she asked suspiciously.
"No," I said, "I fall off of things with wheels."
She leaned closer, wrinkling her nose.
"Are you goth?!" she asked. I looked down at my black clothing.
"I don't know. I guess so," I said. She turned and looked at Carrie.
"Is she going to go to Heaven?" she asked. Carrie and I burst into laughter. She turned beet red and stalked off.
If there was anything to be learned from that experience, none of us figured it out.