All the Times I’ve Never Been Kissed, Part 2

(Part 1 can be found here.)

I’m sixteen.

My best friend thinks you’re beautiful, and I guess you are. We giggle about you at night. We know you’re there, just fifteen feet away; you can probably hear us. When we make a list ranking all of the boys at camp by their desirability, you are at the very top. On the boys’ list, I am number two. I worry that this means I have no chance with you.

One night, we sneak out. Not just us, of course; I am with two of my friends and you are with two of yours. We climb through the brambles until we reach a small fort, someplace wonderful we didn’t build. Someone suggests a game of “spin the bottle.” My stomach clenches as I feel the real possibility of your closeness, my heart beating like a quickly approaching drum line.  I mumble something about feeling sick and rush blindly through broken sticks and crackling leaves until I am back in my bed, safe from you and your guitar and your hypnotic eyes and all the things about you that keep me awake at night.

Somebody tells me you like me back. In response, I vomit in the corner of the soccer field.

We are assigned to the same unit the next week. We walk over to play capture the flag together, both dressed in head-to-toe blue, you carrying a light saber. You fiddle with it while we travel because I am tongue-tied. When we reach our destination, we have lapsed into an awkward silence.

“See ya,” I say.

“Yep,” you reply.

A few days later, I hear you’ve moved on to the girl who’s number one. It makes sense. You should be with someone as beautiful as you are.

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