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We were on a road trip from Montana to Austin, on a mission to photograph the American teenage summer. It was our last night, and we were filling our final tank at Stripes before heading home in the morning. A truck pulled into the lot, blasting music, and slammed to a stop. Girls hopped out of the cab, barefoot, laughing and yelling. We asked to take their photo, and they invited us back to Toni’s house where they were going to swim in the river. After hanging out for a few hours, jumping into pitch black water and talking about their histories, we made fast friends. To our surprise, the girls were instantly open with us; they had so much to say about their lives, like no one had ever asked them before. They were eager to voice their own experience, as if in some way they felt overlooked by their town, their schools, and their parents. 


As the sun rose, they added us on Instagram, and we all left—them to Denny’s, and us to the airport, knowing we had to go back to Texas.

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