The streets were teeming with teenagers, celebrating the last day of school exams. Many were drunk, although it was not yet six o’clock–or legal drinking age. One girl was wearing a yellow bikini and, over her hips and thighs, a sparkly string vest of a skirt. At the end of her bare legs, towering heels. I heard tutting. It was me.
There were boys on the streets too. Surly shoals of them, limbs and torsos fully covered in gray, blue and black. They seemed less drunk than the girls, who were louder, brighter, loose-limbed as they led the way.
The astringent after-shave kiss of a gin and tonic, like a welcome greeting from a long-ago lover. Exhilarating, with a deep memory of head-dulling danger.
The sting of salt and vinegar crisps, served in the street in a cardboard carton.
An everyday British department store, here renowned for its dowdiness. But I found myself wanting to touch all the clothes, admiring their cut and swing and color. Perhaps 80 styles of summer shoes, every size and shade. I bought a pair the color of Goris cherries. Day one away from Armenia.