Inspired by @ListPrompts
  1. Hold on to your hearts, this is basically a Nicholas Sparks novel.
  2. His house was three doors down, and even though he didn't move to the neighborhood until I was seven, I was sure I'd loved him for my whole life. I was only 15, but still.
  3. We had climbed trees together, swam in the city pool together, crashed our bikes in dusty heaps together, and every single moment I had loved him and his striped tube socks.
  4. Once, when I was in third grade, at my sister's birthday party, he asked me to couples skate--and I wonder now, could he see into the future? Or did he just feel sorry for me in my corduroy awkwardness? Either way, I was too overcome with emotion and skated away as fast as I could.
    This would also be the day my mother decided to educate my sister and I about where babies come from. In other words, "the talk," and the Definitive Couples Skate Invite Of My Life occurred on the SAME. DAY. It is a literal wonder I survived.
  5. In the years after that, I watched him from my sister's bedroom window, which looked over the low roof of the house next door and provided the perfect vantage point to observe him playing basketball or leaving for work in his little blue truck.
  6. Sometimes, in the window, I would turn the radio up really loud and aim the speakers out at the air between us, just in case he might hear the music, turn toward the sound, and see me there in all my adolescent glory.
  7. I was awkward.
  8. But I grew out of it, and he started to think of me as more than the scrappy little bookworm, kid sister, dirty-kneed girl next door.
  9. And I can't remember how we got to this next part, but I know that it was the beginning of the summer. I was barefoot and wearing a shirt from the Dollar General. I was fifteen.
  10. And even though I could see my house from his, he always walked me halfway home. 😍
  11. This time, though, when we said goodnight, he kept staring at my mouth, which I'm sure was a technique he'd learned from some movie, but it didn't matter because to my tiny fifteen-year-old heart, it was mesmerizing. And very effective.
  12. Because then, we kissed. Right next to his mother's lilac, which has since been dug up and replaced with something not as pretty.
  13. We kissed. And when it was over, true to form, I ran away. I ran! But first, I smiled at him.
  14. And when I got to the edge of my front yard, I did a cartwheel. And another cartwheel.
  15. Then I ran inside the house, up the stairs to my room, and pulled the covers over my head. Because:
  16. Andy. ❤️✨
  17. Note: I can still do that cartwheel.