They moved in when i was just peaking on the edge of awkward, the 12's (a great mountain face to the immediate plummet of pubescence). Unnaturally moody and grappling on the slick rope of heterosexuality, I tended to wish attraction to boys into existence so that when my sexuality was called into question, I could present the cards (names and faces, metaphorical head shots of boys with delicate mouths and soft hair and goddamn, I was so gay). He fit most of the markers and was, unshakably, male. I remember his soccer shoes with three stripes and how he was located within 500 feet of my house which I assumed was a major turn-on for straight girls (connivence is sexy, right?). Jake Colonoy with his blonde eyelashes, strangely enamored with me ever since the time I set a fire in the woods to impress him. He stole his dad's chewing tobacco and carved his intials into trees for absolutely no reason. His sixteen year old sister, my first crush, would send him over to my house while she laid out in their driveway, tanning. I assumed her hair smelled like lemons and thought a lot about her belly-button when I was alone. So gay.
She drove a nineteen ninety nine navy blue Camry which I, for some reason, had a visceral reaction to. She played her music too loud and whipped up and down the neighborhood stretch, sliding on her navy blue brakes at the children running into the road and screaming at them behind sunglasses. She smoked cigarettes on her front porch when everyone was asleep and fumbled with C.D's and did every other girl-task while driving that car and I guess everyone should have expected it. It might have been a wednesday or a thursday (because days turn to mere letters in the cicada buzz of summer) and she was driving up and down, touching strands of her hair in the rearview when she heard the thud. The big red house where the girl who might have been a bit "slow" lived just happened to be having a birthday party. In light of the occasion, the mother had dressed the family's Schnauzer in a party hat and little bow-tie. Possible spooked from all the foreign children's hands- the dog had run out into the road and right into Katie's navy-blue front fender. It was dead, as poetic justice would have insisted, smeared onto the gravel. It's tiny body still dressed in a party hat and at that exact moment- Slow Girl ran out front (probably searching for her beloved dog) only to be met with the grisly sight. There were tears and screams of anguish and I assume it was all very dramatic but I would not witness it because I was in the woods, practicing kissing a boy that I had no interest in for the sake of Jesus. Jesus wanted girls to kiss boys and touch grubby hands and hear a Matchbox Twenty song on the radio hours later and think
"Maybe this is a sign"and it was. A sign that Matchbox Twenty sucks.
After he kissed me, we both sat on logs. He might have slapped a mosquito on his neck.
"Can I touch your boobs?"
"Do you want to go play Mario Kart?"