Disc golf didn’t sound like
the setting for a typical romantic comedy.
In fact, if anyone had told me
that the beginning of three years worth of
heartache would start that day I would laugh.
No one would describe me as athletic so as soon as I picked up
the creamy white disc
it was no surprise that I sucked.
That's when I met him.
"Do you need help?"
I had seen this guy before.
I've known him for years,
but something felt different.
It was like meeting him all over again.
Of course, I promptly said no.
No way I was going to get help
from a boy.
Already, at ten, I knew that I didn't need someone,
especially a guy, to show me how to do things.
He didn't listen or if he did he ignored what I had said,
he was as stubborn as I was.
I felt his warm hands overlap mine.
I liked it.
This year was the year
I taught my camp fish out of water.
A new long lasting tradition.
I sat at the top of a glossy red slide.
He sat behind me,
ready to slide down the fireman's pole.
There was this out-of-world experience
when his stare
felt like a tap on the shoulder.
I twisted my neck to respond.
Time slowed and his golden hair shimmered in the sun.
For the first time,
my cheeks reddened.
I wasn't sick.
I wasn't embarrassed.
I was in love.
Truth or dare.
Need I say more?
I was the only girl who was actually
"old enough" to play.
So of course, I was the topic
of every dare.
Blonde hair, blue eyes.
We had a date.
I wouldn't say that I was too opposed to the idea.
The date was him and I sitting together, hands touching again,
watching a movie the camp was playing.
That summer, I was obsessed with friendship bracelets.
I brought embroidery thread
to camp so other kids
could make whatever they liked.
He let go of my hand and placed
a blue, purple, and orange bracelet around my wrist.
He tied it.
Two years later, I cut the string.
we went to the pool
an hour away from the camp.
To fill the time we played MASH.
The boys always rigged my results.
Most of the time I ended up as a homeless stripper with 156 kids.
My husband: him.
Most boys would say something mean
if they were told their future wife was me.
He didn't say anything.
He just laughed along with the rest of us.
It was October and I was alone in my room.
His smile flashed through my thoughts, like it did every day.
We had been apart for months now,
but on the first day of school I felt his hand on mine.
Truth be told, I was making myself sick
thinking about him.
Did he think about me?
I stared at my phone waiting for a response.
I didn’t get a response until December.
By then the damage had been done.
Every day I didn’t get a text,
I could feel a pickaxe chipping away my self esteem.
Another bracelet making day.
In exchange for a drawing,
he made me a bracelet.
He drew a vine, curving up and down
the faux leather surface.
Many of the younger kids made
me artwork as well.
I had become very close with some of them. They were like little siblings.
After he was done, I asked him to sign it so I could remember he made it.
The bracelet snapped onto my wrist.
I wore it proudly all the way home.
When I took it off there was a message.
I did a little yelp in surprise.
"Love," was written on the back.
He loved me.
New kids had come to camp.
Two boys my age.
I made friends with them quickly.
We became tight.
A pack of brothers, if I was a boy.
On the bus, we sat together.
Everyone was being loud,
since we were the elders
it was our job to set the example for
a round of the quiet game.
My friends were a bunch of idiots and we found
other ways to communicate beside verbal.
I could feel his eyes.
I looked up and he just stared at me before looking away.
I felt sorry, but also a tingle of excitement.
Maybe he was jealous.
I was a different girl this summer,
that’s what I told myself.
I was mature now.
No longer an elementary school student.
I was an experienced middle schooler
and I would not be hung up on some guy.
My phone vibrated at ten.
The sender’s name.
I stared and stared.
This couldn’t be right.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
Why was he doing this to me?
I responded hesitantly and it was like meeting him
for the first time all over again.
We began to talk and I thought maybe he
was flirting with me.
That was until he started boasting about his new girlfriend.
On the outside, I talk a big game,
like how awful he was and how he wasn’t even that cute.
On the inside, I’m still in love.
There is a part of me that will always be in love.
I want to remember him for his faults but my heart
will only remember his virtues.
“Open your mouth,” he said, smirking at me.
In his hand was a bag overflowing with sunflower seeds.
“No way,” I laughed. “You’re just going to pelt them at me.”
“Trust me.” His voice took on a very calm tone
that I could listen to forever.
“Fine.” I opened my mouth wide.
He gracefully picked out a seed and his arm reeled back.
His hand shot toward me and the seed landed right on my tongue.
His fingertips were just millimeters from my lips.
For a second, just a second, he left them there.
We made eye contact and then he pulled away and pelted a
seed at my forehead.
His eyes glistened.
For a moment the world felt like it was just him and I.