Lake Love

By , Louisville, KY
The rope was slipping from my sweaty hands. The hot Kentucky sun was reflecting off the lake, refracting into a thousand tiny suns off of the waves buffeting the dock. With every boat that cruised in, the dock would rock and sway, making the boat jerk in its slip. I sighed, looped the rope around the dock cleat once, and pulled. The boat slid towards me and I quickly tied the knot.

“Adam! What’s up?! This is taking too long boy!” Her voice rang out in a smooth and soft tone. My head snapped up. Her fiery red hair flowed down her back, and seemed even brighter against her lime green Peace Frog shirt. Her green eyes were electric from the sunlight reflecting off the lake.

I huffed. “Shut up! It’s not my fault you’re too tiny to tie up your own boat.”

She hopped out of the boat, without even making it dip. “Just leave it, it’ll hold. I’m taking it out in a few hours anyway.” She paused as she flipped her hair back, put her hands on her hips, and pouted her lips. “Do I look sexy right now, would you do me?”

I stared back blankly. “Isn’t that what Wesley is for…?”

“Oh boo! I’m just playing.” I lowered my eyes back to the dock, to see the boat tugging against the ropes. “Adam, what’s wrong? You’ve been acting weird all day! You’re the rain on my parade man!”

I fiddled with the knot on the rope. “Nothing, its chill. I’m fine. Legit.”

She pursed her lips as she checked her watch. “Uhg! I’m late to meet le boyfriend. Are you sure you’re ok?”

“Yeah yeah, I’m fine.”

“Alright, if you wanna talk, call me later, k? You know the phones always on!”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Bye best friend!” She smiled, blew a kiss, and darted off. I listened for her car as she left. I heard the engine start and watched as the maroon Toyota Corolla pulled off. As soon as she was gone, I leaned back and laid on the dock. No one would be coming to the marina for awhile. Tourist season hadn’t started yet, and the town would just be setting down to dinner. I had a few hours to myself. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift.

The scene replayed again. I was too tired to close it out, and I let myself experience every detail. His tall, slender frame. The light blue Hollister shirt stretched across his chest. The way it made his blue eyes come alive. His honey brown hair with blonde highlights. His name arched in cursive across the blackboard, Evan J. Wells. The leather bracelet on one wrist, a few bright rainbow friendship bracelets on the other. His low-rise, ripped up blue jeans. The black Coach slip on shoes. The way he said, I am from Chicago, I’m here with my parents while they’re researching a special type of fish…. Yes, I’m a transfer student… in an accent completely free of the country lilt and twang. Every detail begged for attention.

I shook the memory from my head. It was disgusting in a way. I forced my thoughts onto a different track. I cycled through the list of every girl in my class that was attractive. Thought about what it would be like to date them, hold them… That didn’t do it for me. I turned it to cars, trucks, boats… beautiful pieces of machinery, the love of every man…

I gave up, and just decided to focus on the dip and sway of the dock. I stretched out my arms and soaked up every ray of sunlight that rained down upon me. A soft breeze was rolling over the lake. I smelled the lake, the dock wood, and the faint scent of gasoline that always lingered in the marina.

“Child, wake up! I’m not paying you to sleep!”
I snapped up. “I’m sorry, Miss Susan! I was just-“

“Save it, baby. Just move over, let me sit down. See what was so important down there.”I scooted over and Miss Susan eased herself down beside me. She was a large woman, with a deep chocolate tint to her skin. The smell of vanilla nudged the scent of gasoline out of the way. I smiled. The way she always smelled like vanilla was one of the deepest comforts to me. We sat in silence for a few minutes. “Trouble at home again?”

“No ma’am.”

“You sure? You know I’ll go to bat for you. I don’t care if it is against your mother and daddy.”

I chuckled. “No no, it’s fine, really. They’ve been pretty good lately.”

“Then what is it? My best dock boy starts sleeping on the job, the other boys catch you, start thinking they can do the same… I just can’t have it. You’re lucky none of them saw.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Alright. I’ll accept you’re apology on one condition. You tell me what’s troubling you.”

I sat on the edge of the of the deck, swinging my legs back and forth just above the water. I thought for a second about telling her, then decided better of it. “It’s… this girl. I keep thinking about her. I can’t get her out of my head.”

“Hah! Woman troubles. I gave quite a few men some of those.”

“Yeah. I know how they must’ve felt.”

“Patience is a virtue. Is she giving you the run around?”



“No. I haven’t even talked to her.”

“Well don’t be some creeper! Go up and talk to her. Dazzle her. Show her those muscles!” She lightly slapped my arm. “If I were seventeen again and some boy like you came up with that sweet country slur, that tanned skin, and those muscles, I’d fall for him in a heartbeat.”

“Alright. Thanks!”

“Anytime, baby. Now get back to work!”

She pulled herself up, and sashayed back to the main building. I sighed, and got back to work to keep my mind busy.
***

“Ok, ladies and gentlemen! Today we will be starting Shakespeare!” The teacher was met with groans and mumbles. “Get over it! You know you love it.” It was first period, English class. The morning sun beamed through the windows. I looked around the room. Evan was sitting across the room, flipping through a stack of papers. He tucked a strand of hair behind his ears. “Pair off!” The teacher put her hands on her hips as she watched her class pair up. I looked over at Emilie. Wesley had already pulled his desk over to hers. I looked around the room. Everyone had already paired off, except for Evan. I cursed under my breath. I didn’t want to work with the *** new kid. The teacher saw neither one of us had a partner. “Adam, honey? Be a doll and work with Evan.”

“Yes ma’am,” I grumbled. My heart leapt, but I stifled it. I was not excited to work with the gay kid, I was not excited to work with the gay kid…. A dark, sweet scent filled my nose. I looked over and saw he had taken a seat right next to me.
The teacher was standing right in front of us. “Adam, you’re in for a treat. Mr. Evan here is well versed in Shakespeare. He studied theatre in Chicago, so him helping you should be no problem. And, you’re needing it.” She leaned in a little closer and whispered, “You’ve got a D. Close to a U. You better work hard, ok?” She walked back up to the front of the class. “I’ll pass out the monologue you all will be studying. This is Puck’s monologue from a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Enjoy, my lovelies.”
All the groups turned in themselves and started working. Evan turned to me. “Ok so, this monologue is, of course, by Puck. Do you know what he’s talking about here?”
I looked down. The block of text before me was all incomprehensible. “No.”
He nodded. “Ok. Let’s start at line one. ‘Thou speakest aright.’ What’s he saying?”
“I don’t know.”
“He’s saying that the person he’s talking to is correct.”
“Who is he talking to?”
“In this scene, a few fairies recognize Puck. And they’re asking him if he is who they think he is. And he’s telling them that they’re correct.”
“Oh.”
“Right… ok so. Next line, ‘I am that merry wanderer of the night.’ Simple enough right?”
“I think so? Is he saying that he’s happy?”
“Sort of. He’s saying that he’s the one that’s happy wandering around at night.”
The teacher clapped her hands. “Ladies and gentlemen, now that you’ve gotten a little sample of the monologue I’m going to ahead and give you your assignment. A 500 word literary analysis of the monologue. Get your partners number and address because guess what! That’s who will be helping you write this beast. The essay will be written by the both of you, which means I only need one essay per group. Now say goodbye to your partners.”
I glanced over at Evan, who was writing a series of numbers on a piece of paper. He ripped it out, and tossed it onto my desk. “Just text me later. We can work out the details then.” I just nodded. The bell rang, and I bolted. I had his number. He was coming over later. A sick sweet feeling spread across my stomach. I put one hand out, and leaned up against my locker. I didn’t want to feel this excited. He was just a normal guy, coming over to do a project. Nothing special, nothing weird.





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