About The Boy

April 17, 2018

We stand on the short slope of the hill, overlooking the lodge.

He has his hands deep in the pockets of his jeans, which are wrecked–almost in shreds. I stick the toe of my shoe over and over into the spring dirt.

“You haven’t said anything to me in weeks,” I say. I am trying to keep my voice even, but it’s not working and it’s verging on tears, which makes me want to die. “Not one thing. Not even, ‘Hi, how are you.’  So.”

He stuffs his hands deeper into pockets. “I’m sorry,” he says.

“Sorry about what? The fact that you haven’t said a single word to me in two weeks or sorry that everything feels weird and shitty?”

“Hey.” He takes one hand out of a pocket and grabs my wrist. “Don’t be like that. I’m just…” He shrugs. “I know. I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you. It was just kind of…”

“What?” It comes out harder than I mean it to. He drops the wrist.

“I’m just sorry. I didn’t know what to say to you. I was embarrassed. It was embarrassing, you know?”

“YOU. You were embarrassed. Wow. That’s so tragic.” I try to breathe but I’m sucking air.

He makes this little frustrated growly sound that’s annoying and super hot at the same time and I think he’s going to break those pockets wide open, he’s shoving his hands in so hard. “Look, I just felt blindsided, okay? I didn’t know what to do.”

“Whatever.” I look everywhere but at him. Spring dirt. Colorado mountains. Shitty YMCA lodge that they use for every extracurricular high school retreat.

“So.” He says.

“So.” I say back.

Suddenly, he barks out a laugh. “Man, you really don’t do eye contact, do you?”

I’m suddenly furious. “You know what? Fuck you. Fuck you and everything that comes so easy to you. Some people are shy.”

“Jesus.” He reaches again for the wrist but I shake him off. “D., I didn’t mean it bad, I swear.” His mouth is fighting a laugh, though.

I glower at him and he thinks it is hilarious.

“You’re just a…I’m sorry but I am going to say  it. You are a weird girl. I have no idea what to do with you. You won’t look me in the eye but you tell me to go fuck myself without a second thought.”

“Maybe you should be told to fuck yourself more often.”

I stare him down for the briefest second and then bail because he’s right about the eye contact. How do people look each other in the eye, face to face, and not feel like there’s something about to collapse in their stomach? I feel like eyes and guts are hardwired to be connected. Eye contact. Not my thing. Clearly.

“Don’t go,” he says. “I mean it. And you can scowl at me all you want but I need to say something.”

I’m pretty sure he’s not going to get down on a knee and declare his love. He’s had several weeks to do that, and obviously it is not on the agenda.

He pats the ground. “Sit.”

So I sit, angled away from him. I hug my knees really hard because I do not want to be tempted to touch this boy.

“I just need to put this out here. Now.” He rakes a hand through his hair. “Okay. There is a rumor going around that you are Hell-bent on losing your virginity before you go to college.”

I don’t even know what to say to this.

I think I choke out some kind of sound. I hang my head between my knees.

“Yeah. That rumor. It’s kind of–everywhere.”

Here’s the deal: I am The Last American Virgin at my high school and it is no secret to anyone. And yes, I have joked about it. Only to maybe 5 friends though, and I am feeling pretty damn betrayed. It’s a joke, but I guess now I am the joke. And I am both ashamed of being talked about and being so misjudged. My virgin self is definitely not open for business before college. The girl who sucks at even eye contact.

I can feel the heat and the anger creep up my neck.  “Who the Hell do you think you are? You don’t know anything about anything and that is NOT true.”

He turns and somehow manages to catch my eyes. “Fine if you are pissed at me but look, I heard it from a pretty damn good source.”

As if he even knows. As if he is even remotely friends with my friends. “You know what? Piss off. Believe what you want but that is complete bullshit and I guess you don’t know me at all.”

And in an instant, he’s angry. In his wrecked jeans and his glasses that he takes off to throw two brown daggers at me.

“WHY is everything so hard with you? Everything. Is. Hard. You just…you don’t make sense.”

If steam could radiate off a girl, I think it would right now.

He runs his hand through his hair again, back and forth.

“Just. Jesus. Don’t do that, okay?”

“What? Turn into a slut? Which you just pretty much called me right now? That’s a seriously shit thing to call a girl and it is not true, so just shut up.”

That frustrated noise he makes.

“Look. I know you’re mad and maybe I was hard on you but…don’t do it like that. Okay? You can’t just throw that away. That’s really stupid. It should mean something.”

This coming from a boy who I am pretty sure has slept with a significant amount of our female population in high school.

I am still feeling prickly and awful. It hurts. More than I would like to admit.

“I don’t know why I feel so mean with you.” I say, and I dig my fingers into the dirt.  “I don’t know why I say the things I do. But I do. Make everything hard.”

“Yeah, you do,” he says. And he leans in enough to bump my shoulder with his. “It makes me nuts.”

You and me both, I think.

“But tell me you’re not going to do that. I mean…you know. Not for nothing.”

I can’t say anything. The words race through my brain, but they stop in my throat.

I sit on the side of a hill, next to a boy in wrecked jeans.





{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie April 18, 2018 at 1:51 pm



Pam April 18, 2018 at 6:45 pm

SO GOOD. I want more!!


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