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Something irritates the skin around my ankle. I reach down, dig into my boots, the new ones that are my favorite, and make contact with a rough, hemp-like material. Of course, the anklet that my sister gave me for Christmas. Then it falls apart in my hands.
I freeze at the implications of this. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder if my neighbor notices my hesitation. Is he concerned? Have his thoughts turned to me? No, of course not, I assure myself. Never.
But in the forefront of my mind, at lightning-fast speed my brain is analyzing what the anklet means. I pull the broken string laced with cheap plastic beads up and pretend to observe it in my fingers. Really, I’m just putting on a show for my neighbor, hoping against hope that he’ll notice.
I pretend in my mind’s eye that he looks over, furrows his eyebrows a little, and asks in his deep, blindingly kind-soft voice, “What’s that?”
Part of my mind marvels at the way his eyes squint in concentration, and tangents off in all different directions. The rest is trying to figure out how I’ll reply. “It’s a wishing anklet. My sister gave it to me for Christmas.” I pause for a moment. How would things change, if I didn’t elaborate? But then again, if I am to experience what I’m aiming for, than I’ll have to or risk him not asking. He’s not much of an asker. “When you put it on, you make a wish, and then when it falls off, it’s supposed to come true.” I’m blushing slightly, my expression strained with the effort of concealing my emotions.
My plan hinges on the assumption that he’ll ask what I wished. And so, in my daydream, I pretend that he does. “What’d you wish for?” he asks, casually. I throw in an adorable smile on his face for luck.
“I... can’t really tell you,” I hesitate.
Were this not a daydream, I know that he’d just go back to whatever he was doing before; if he had any curiosity, he’d conceal it expertly. But since this is my mind wandering, I continue to weave these unlikely events. “Oh,” he says softly, sending my heart racing. If only he knew...
The bell rings in my pretend world. We rise from our desks, exit the classroom as we always do, but this time I’m brave enough to stand next to him. I imagine he stops me outside the classroom, in the hallway, says my name... “Listen...” he trails off, looks away, then steps closer.
I smile crookedly, unable to conceal my confused excitement. And then he leans closer -I warp this dream world so our binders are no longer obstacles- and we kiss in a way I could never imagine, so that’s how I leave it in my daydream. A single word. Kiss... the implications of that word... if only people who are lucky enough to experience it would realize...
I pretend that after this heart-stopping, critical moment, I whisper in his ear, “I’ll tell you my wish...”
And then my daydream ends, and I realize I’m still staring stupidly at the anklet, twiddling it between my fingers. I move to put it in my pocket.
His eyes, against hope, catch the movement, and linger momentarily on my own, but he says nothing. I turn my attention back to my work, and I monitor how he looks away, then back at me again. I consider looking back at him, but decide not to, and just ignore this as usual. I wonder what would happen if I didn’t.
He’s still looking at me, so I reluctantly meet his eyes. Those clear, beautiful, fathomless blue eyes.
And then he’s grabbing my hair and I’m kissing him for the first time, wondering how I’m going to describe this on paper, and knowing that it will never be possible to capture this moment...
I’m thinking about the anklet, and what my wish was... I’m thinking that life sucks, because this is also, regrettably, only a daydream, and really I’m sitting in my desk right now, next to him, staring off into space and tuning out the teacher and exercising my hyperactive imagination.
I risk a glance at his hair, try to memorize the color of it... silver-blond, like mine might be if I didn’t color it. I twiddle my pencil, realize he’s going through the same motion and stop, embarrassed.
I’m thinking about how I’ll never kiss, or have a boyfriend, and how this perfect boy will never care about me the way I care about him...
I’m thinking about Katy Perry’s song... put your hands on me in my skin-tight jeans, live a teenage dream tonight... Criticizing it, thinking how it’s suggestive for teenagers and the values adults want them to have...
I’m thinking about abstinence and wondering if I would practice it, that is, if I ever got a chance to practice it or throw it away...
I’m thinking that songs are so hard to relate to when I’ve never experienced the things they sing about... and that I never will...
And then I’m thinking about my anklet again, that it fell off five minutes ago now, and nothing remarkable happened.
And now I’m thinking that this, as well, is only a figment of my imagination, and that I’m nowhere near that classroom right now; in fact, I’m sitting in my bed, afflicted with that dull depression that comes with thoughts of him, and simultaneously hit by the writing bug.
I’m typing on my laptop, because there’s no other way for me to experience kissing or boys than through my keyboard, and the words I write...now...
And I’m writing this because not so long ago I discovered that the threads on my anklet are fraying rapidly, and then my mind went off on a tangent about my wish and what could never happen... My wish to kiss the boy I love.