Rachel looked at the customer's ID. The girl was buying the sort of liquor that attracted minors: sweet as soda and the colour of Crayolas. It raised suspicion.
The girl was very clear-eyed and pretty, in a pain-in-the-ass kind of way. Born 1999. People from every year of(more) the 90s could drink and smoke and participate legally in vice, Rachel knew, although for her that decade had been one of innocence and a different sort of dirt.
The liquor would go to the kid's head. The world being what it was, Rachel reasoned, little chickie could end up a clip on Pornhub or some shithole Tumblr, overestimating the importance of her first taste of letting go and allowing too many liberties to be taken.
The smirk in the black&white ID matched the smirk leveled at her now. Where did girls get their confidence? At 40, Rachel still flinched under scrutiny. She couldn't say anything bad, or forbid the sale.
Blue eyes rimmed with purple eyeliner. Blue streaks in her hair. God, it had been so hard to be unusual or punk in Rachel's 90s. You couldn't find weird hair dye or makeup anywhere. Nowadays even Walmart has it. Rachel had spraypainted her hair pink in high school and wore a Masterlock to keep her jeans closed.
People born in 1999 and beyond can smoke. They can drink. Rachel handed back the ID and rang up the purchase. She remembered the days when a bit of wine cooler was enough to get her drunk. She remembered when being drunk cheered her up.
Her tolerance for alcohol had increased at the same rate her tolerance for people, parties, and bullshit decreased.
She wondered if her hope had ever seemed smug, if her gaze had ever been so naive it caused someone pain.(less)