The place I liked most in my old house on Long Island was the basement. The left side of the basement was my wood-walled haven in elementary school, the concrete-floored and junk-ridden right side available to my burning, fearful curiosities through an unlocked door. My friends and I invented scenarios in which we were much older than our nine-year-old selves. Our own American Idol and Top Model shows. "House," and "College." Always in some spontaneous act of romance did we end up marrying our celebrity crushes at the time. (Think of any male Disney Channel star in 2009, and you'll find these boys hidden among them.)
I once donned ice skates and drove them along the basement floors, imagining cold ice below my clunky feet instead of red and taupe carpet. In one of our more graceful moments, my childhood confidants and I poured crimson paint onto a white board and squelched our bare feet in the viscous liquid. My mother, of course wasn't too happy, and I remember her strong hands under my armpits, hoisting up my wriggling body as I protested against our trip to the bathroom. Allowing her to clean off my feet, I listened to her scolding, knowing fully well that my underground adventures were not yet quite finished. There was still more paint left in the bottle, after all.