Saturday, February 21, 2015

First Crush

We all gathered together, so many cats that our mothers had to herd. Beach towels, twisted goggles, foam noodles slapping each other in the face. They called it a "homeschool field trip," but I'm not sure what we were meant to learn. The doggie paddle, maybe.

Give me a the pool by tom@hk | 湯米tomhk
Give me a the pool, a photo by tom@hk | 湯米tomhk on Flickr.

We all crammed into our huge Suburban, Mom taking the wheel while I scrambled to sit between my two girlfriends. Miranda's hair had some real poof to it back then, and Lily looked 9 instead of 11.

The mothers must have been relieved when we piled out at the swimming pool. After we paid admission, we walked through the gates and my stomach dropped into my pool shoes with glee. There was the slide--the big, swirling, colorful water slide that I'd been watching from the road for years--now only a few yards away from me. I almost plunged into the deep end before Mom could grab me and slap some sunscreen on my freckled nose.

For hours we played, splashing and screaming as kids do. I swam around with Miranda and Lily some, but preferred being off to myself with my huge goggles and snorkel, twisting my legs together and pretending to be a mermaid. After one especially harrowing episode under the "sea," I surfaced to look at the hordes of swimsuited people all around, the noise bursting on my eardrums as I rose from the water. I looked for my friends and saw my little brother running to the slide with Miranda's and Claire's brothers. It was the first time I'd seen Miranda's brother with his shirt off. And I liked it.

Something clicked, and a rush of pink bubbles rose to my head. I felt light and happy and curious, not wondering about the future or considering ramifications, but just reveling in this new-found pleasure.

Later, as I lounged on one of the lawn chairs with Miranda, talking about the indignity of our mothers not allowing us to shave yet, I mentioned my discovery to her. She seemed thrilled, and declared that if her brother were to marry anyone, she hoped it would be me. It almost seemed a done deal right there, and I went home happy.

That was before I learned to keep my feelings to myself, locked up inside where no one could see them.

Write Practice Prompt: Write for fifteen minutes about a first love—your own or a fictional story.

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