MEMORIES OF FIRST SUMMER LUV

Just because I want a record of this before it completely disappears from memory.
  1. We met when we were 12 - at sleep away camp the summer after 6th grade. Your uncle owned the camp, but you said he hadn't spoken to your mom in years, not even to invite you to Thanksgiving. You had 1 earring and 1% body fat, you told me. Really, we looked ridiculous together walking in circles side by side until 9:30 curfew.
  2. You were gaunt and quiet, a perpetually sullen look on your angular face. I was tall and over-developed, with a nasal voice and frizzy hair reaching the belt loops of my Abercrombie denim shorts.
  3. We would stare at the stars and you would speculate that what we were really seeing was the roof of a snow globe, a source of entertainment for terrestrial giants who laughed at our every tiny move. It was the deepest thing I'd ever heard.
  4. A boy named Shane with floppy hair and an assortment of poop jokes told me he liked me at the basketball courts. When I asked why, he said because I was hot. I told him I had to think about it (aka hear your reaction). You said you liked me too, because I was nice and cool, and I chose you. Shane cried at the Dorney Park Wildwater Kingdom.
    I'd never felt so powerful. Plus I'd just gotten a sick henna tattoo on my lower back.
  5. On the second to last night we sat on a bench, minutes before curfew. You said "I love you," kissed me so fast I was startled, and then ran back to your bunk. This move would be dissected by my friends at sleepovers for a year afterward.
  6. I introduce you to my mom the day she came to take me home. She commented disapprovingly about your earring on the car ride. You stayed for the two more weeks, and I was worried you'd replace me. We exchanged instant messenger screen names but you only IMd me once. Someone told me you were gay, but I don't think they knew what gay meant.
    Shane IMd me every day, and one time he told me he got so angry sometimes that he punched the wall.
  7. For the following few summer we were varying degrees of friends. You lost your virginity and smoked cigarettes very young. We had different girlfriends and boyfriends. I thought I was too safe and boring for you, until you started going out with my friend who was ever more safe and boring but very cute.
    I made out with your friend with the green mohawk, mostly to show you that it really didn't bother me at all.
  8. At 16 we were assistant counselors, which meant we had authority over gaggles of 10-year olds and could drink cheap beer in the parking lot on nights off. We sat in your shitty red car smoking from your bowl, which I'd pretended to have done a million times before, and held in my coughs with all my strength.
    You told me about different drugs you'd tried and it made me nervous. We made out and held hands almost every night and pretend nothing happened every morning.
  9. You asked me to come home with you to middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania on our weekend off. I was nervous. Your car got a flat on the highway on the way there. We waited on the side of the road for hours until AAA came. We got to your house late and drank beer with your friends, our feet dangling in your pool.
    Your dad shook your hand to pass you a pre-rolled joint. It was so cool.
  10. Your mom made your little brother's bed for me to sleep in, but I passed out next to you, tipsy and floating. The next day I laid on the couch in your pool house. You said you were happy I came and kissed my forehead. I got to pick the music the whole way back to camp.
  11. At the reunion in January I found out you were dating my friend, another counselor, and you visited each other on weekends. I cried, but not when you were looking. She apologized and I said it's okay. I drunkenly confronted you in the laundry room after she'd gone home. You said you wished you were with me instead and held me the rest of the night.
    It was really mean and I didn't care.
  12. The next summer I was told that you'd sworn off girls and I decided to let go of you. I started dating Danny and days later you started dating beautiful Ellie. Danny held my hand in the daylight, which was nice. I was still jealous and unsuccessfully repressing it. You walked me home and said you always loved me so I kissed you.
    You asked if I'd go home with you again and I said yes but took it back the next day in the dining hall. I kept it to myself until Danny broke up with me and I blurted it out. I'd never seen so much hate in someone's eyes - he told people I was a slut.
  13. I came to visit camp last summer, where you still worked, now 20. You had a trendy haircut, but still as dark and funny-looking as when we were 12. We talked for hours next to the pool table in the dark, dirty camp bar. You said you were in community college now and I was so happy for you.
    I left with Danny - I guess he'd forgiven me. I haven't talked to you since.
  14. You were an undercurrent throughout my adolescence, a part of my alternate summer universe that never seemed quite real. If I ran into you now, in my real life, I'm not so sure if we would like or know each other at all.