I was in love with him, I think. Used to write his name on the walls with chalk and quickly erase it. Wrote my name with his last name in every notebook I could find. I was eleven. He was fourteen. We rode horses together and went to the beach with our parents. Teased each other mercilessly. We were friends, for sure.
Once we went to visit his mother’s family. Drove for hours, our mothers in the front seat, the two of us in the back. And all of a sudden we didn’t have anything to say to each other. I felt nervous, lips itchy, chest pounding, uncomfortable. I turned my face away, and stared out the window, embarrassed. We didn’t speak a word.
We had a wonderful day visiting his grandparents and exploring their farm. Upon our return we stopped by his house first, to drop them off. Our mothers asked us to unload the car, and when we finished, he sat behind the wheel, and I next to him. We pretended to drive off, like children do. It was awkward and weird, but we kept at it for a while.
Quietly, he reached for my hand and held it for what seemed an eternity. His palm warm and sweaty, mine trembling. He leaned close and whispered. “I can take advantage of you here and now. Nobody would be the wiser”. These were not romantic words, they were feral and raw and for the first time in my life, I was sexually aroused. His lips brushed the corner of my mouth and I could smell his breath, sweet and warm. I sat frozen, unsure of what to do.
“I dare you to try”.
I heard the words come out of my mouth and knew immediately that I was in trouble. His lips curled up, in a smile. My face flush. I got out of the car, scurried inside the house and quietly sat by my mother, desperate to go home.
I didn’t know it then, but that exchange would alter the course of my life. And it would take me almost thirty years to speak of it again.
To be continued…