Let’s give space to our stories
I had just finished my first year of high school. I was 15. She was the kind of friend who would fix my hair and do my makeup for formal events– weirdly one of my only memories of us at school, her hands deftly and lightly passing over my face and hair in a way I had never seemed to learn to do myself. And me, watching us in the mirror, trying to act casual while ignoring the happy tug in my chest. That June, her parents were visiting family friends nearby, and they dropped her off on the way to stay with my family for about a week.
Early summer. We sat on a hammock between two trees in my backyard. It swayed, and the air was charged with something. How would I describe that something…hard to articulate. I guess it kind of felt like a hand coming down and striking a definitive-sounding note on the piano– the one that plays and you know the song is over. Probably the same one in those Adele and John Legend songs that felt special because she was the one who made me those playlists. The feeling was solid. A kind of magnetized trust. There was something there. We didn’t say anything, but our friendship felt a little different after that moment. That long pause and the way our eyes met, like we were sharing a secret.
That moment was the beginning for me. I didn’t know myself well enough to formulate that note into words in my mind, let alone out loud. But it was a real beginning– more substantial than the brief snatches of feeling I’d experienced before: a hot/cold rush facing off an opponent in lacrosse, noticing a teammate while we all sat around a motel hot tub on an overnight trip, a baby crush on a babysitter…wanting to linger on the part I found beautiful. But this was a start. One solid down note that I wanted to find again and again after it faded. I felt betrayed the next summer and the one after that when she started talking about boys. I didn’t know why, and I did.
🙃 Brooklyn, NY, USA
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