It was the fourth of July in the summer I turned 13. Like most July's in Wyoming, it was hot and dry so the day was spent at the lake going swimming with my friends. I noticed Cynch was acting a little coolish towards me this day, much like she had been that whole summer. Cynch and I had grown up together and we were the best of friends, closer than friends I'd say.
Her name was Cynthia but I always called her Cynch. We did everything together and now I was on my own. I couldn't figure out what I had done to her, but there was most certainly something wrong. No one else seemed to know what it was either and I was feeling a little down and worried. I saw her drying off on the benches so I walked over and sat down.
"Hiya Cynch. Did you have fun swimming? I waved but you must not have seen me."
"I saw you," she put her T-shirt on over her swimsuit and pushed her towel into the duffel bag next to her.
"Oh," I didn't know what to say so I just looked down at the ground and tugged at my earlobe. "Is everything okay?"
"Sure. Why wouldn't it be?" There was that distant tone in her voice again. The one that felt like a sucker punch in my gut.
"No reason I guess." I looked at her, but she wouldn't look at me.
Cynch stood up and grabbed her duffel bag. "Well, I better go."
"Okay," I faked my best smile. "The fireworks should be great tonight. I'll see you there. I'll get our usual spot, alright?"
She started to back away slowly, "oh, um, I can't Pete. Craig asked me to go and I said I would." She emphasized the word asked. Then she turned and walked away. I sat back down on the bench for a while, unable to move. I felt like a million people were staring at me, though no one was there. My face felt flushed, but I wasn't angry, I just felt lost.
I got on my bike and headed for home, my mind racing with ideas of what I had done to make her not like me anymore. I couldn't think of anything. My thoughts were interrupted by a voice calling me, sort of like fingernails on a chalkboard, "Petey! Wait up." I hated being called Petey. I still do. It was Stacey. She was a friendly enough girl, but she made me so nervous. She would hang out with the rest of us occasionally, but she had her own group of kids she spent most of her time with. I could never get a word in when talking with Stacey. She usually talked for the both of us. One thing I remember about her was her gum chewing. She was always blowing little bubbles that cracked loudly and made my ears ring. I never knew anyone else that could talk and blow bubbles at the same time like she could.
"I didn't think you were going to hear me. You were going so fast," each of her sentences capped off with cracks from her gum. "Are you going to the fireworks tonight? I was going with Craig and the others, but he's taking Cynthia."
"Yeah, I know. I don't think I w..."
"Then let's go together! I don't want to go by myself and I know you don't either, but I'm not in the mood to go with everyone. I'll come by your house later and we can walk over together. It'll be fun."
I didn't feel like going at all, but going would be so much easier and less stressful than trying to get a whole sentence out. "Okay." Wow! I was able to say a whole word.
"Cool! See you later then," and off she went.
I thought maybe I'd get a chance to talk to Cynch there so I'd just make the best of the evening. Stacy was nice, just a bit overpowering. She was a good friend though.
True to her word, just as it began getting darker Stacey showed up to walk with me to the fireworks. As we walked she told me about her day and how she couldn't believe Craig asked Cynthia to go with him and a dozen other things I'm sorry to say I didn't fully hear. My mind was someplace else, but I don't think that would have mattered much to her anyway. Just then I felt her hand touch mine and she grabbed on, slightly pulling me along. "Let's hold hands!"
"Why? Are you afraid we'll get separated and you'll get lost?" I was only half kidding.
She squeezed my hand tighter and let out a few big laughs, punctuated by cracks from her gum as if they were exclamation points. Once there, she led me to a nice spot where we'd have a good view of the fireworks. I saw Cynch and Craig off a ways so I sat with my back to them so Cynch wouldn't think I was spying. I didn't want to be there at all. After a while the fireworks show began. The sound of people clapping and making sounds of awe filled the air. Stacey leaned on me and put her arm around my back.
"This is romantic, don't you think?" She pulled me closer.
I had no idea what romantic was at that point, so I just heard myself say, "yeah."
With each flash of the fireworks I could see Stacey looking up at the sky, then she did something I never saw her do, she removed the gum from her mouth and put it behind her ear. Before I knew what was happening, she moved her hand up my back to the back of my neck and pulled me into her. I felt her lips lock down on mine. It all happened so fast my mind was racing to keep up, but I wasn't making sense of any of it. Her hand kept my head from moving or pulling away. My eyes were wide open, but hers were closed. I didn't know what the heck to do. I remember thinking it wasn't all that bad though, in fact, it was kind of nice in a weird sort of squishy way. I needed to come up for air and I finally broke free and fell backwards onto my back. I was gasping heavily, trying to catch my breath and wiping off my mouth with my sleeve.
Stacey started to chuckle. "Haven't you ever kissed before?"
At first the words wouldn't come out, but I was able to whisper, "No! Why would I?" I was so embarrassed I felt like my face would burst as it throbbed with my heartbeat. It was then I noticed Cynch standing over us and looking down at me. I sat up and tried to get to my feet, but I stumbled and fell against Stacey. I finally got up and pulled Stacey to her feet too.
Cynch looked at me. I felt like I had done something terribly wrong. She looked at Stacey, "Craig wanted me to tell you he's waiting for you."
"Oh. Okay, thanks." Stacey glanced at me and smiled. "Thanks for a wonderful time, Petey." Then she ran off and joined Craig.
Cynch looked at me with hurt in her eyes and it made me queasy. She turned to leave.
"Please don't go, Cynch. It's not what you think. I didn't do nothing."
She stopped and turned. She had tears in her eyes and I had what felt like a knife in my heart. "Never once have you asked me out on a date, but you go on one with her. Why? All my friends have boyfriends and go out on dates. I thought you liked me, but you never ask me out."
"It wasn't a date, Cynch. She asked me to go and since you were going with someone else... I don't know... I just said yes. I swear it wasn't a date though."
"You kissed her. You never kissed me, but you kissed her. That seems like a date to me." She wiped a tear from her cheek.
I shook my head, "She kissed me, Cynch. I've never kissed anyone before. I didn't even know what to do. Please, Cynch. I wouldn't kiss her. I wouldn't kiss her or anyone. I don't know anything about dating. We always do stuff together. Isn't that the same thing?"
"No. It isn't the same. Their boyfriends take them to movies and stuff like that. Just the two of them and not everyone else."
"Okay, Cynch. We can do that stuff too. If you can help me learn I would like to go on dates too. Just please don't stop liking me the way you have been. I miss you so much."
She wrinkled her nose and looked at the ground, "I've never stopped liking you. I was just upset because you never ask me out. I'm just your friend. You even told me I was like your sister. I don't want to be your sister."
"I'm sorry I called you my sister. You are more than that to me. I've realized that when you weren't talking to me. Can we try dating? I'll do my best if you show me how." I raised my hand and held it out to her.
She stepped closer to me. "So are we boyfriend and girlfriend then?"
"Yes. We are. We already were, I just didn't know what to call it."
Cynch came over and I took her in my arms. I had hugged her many times before, but this was different. I wished I could pull her into my chest so I could make her part of me. It felt so warm and time seemed to stand still. I wanted to feel like this forever. Then Cynch looked up at me and smiled. Before I had time to think, I put my lips to hers and we kissed for the first time.
My eyes were closed this time, but I could see her face in my mind. Only now it was sparkling and her blond hair was shimmering like moonlight on water. Then a million flashes went off, more wondrous than the fireworks from earlier. Colors of every kind of red moved through my mind and flowed through my body like molten lava. My knees felt weak and my arms and legs were numb. A tingling feeling slowly moved up my back and when it reached the top of my head, my hair felt like it was vibrating in time with my heart. And then I felt as if we were flying, higher and higher above everything and everyone. I heard a rushing sound in my ears, like that of a raging river. And then a silence, more silent than I had ever experienced before.
I opened my eyes and then she opened hers. We stayed like that, looking into each other for what seemed like forever and only a second at the same time.
"I love you, Cynch."
"I love you too, Peter. I'm sorry for the way I acted."
And then we let go of the embrace and she stepped back. "So, I'm probably free tomorrow night."
"Oh yes. I forgot. We are going to the mov... I mean... Would you like to go out tomorrow night? Maybe a movie?"
She giggled. "I'd love to!"
Then she began walking away but looked back at me. "I wish I would have been your first kiss."
I smiled at her. "You were, Cynch. You were."
She smiled in that way that could always melt my heart and I watched her as she walked away and over the hill to her home. I had a wonderful, warm feeling and I knew that nothing would be the same again. It would be better than I could have ever hoped for, if way too short.
When you love someone deeply and truly, you can live a lifetime with them in a single moment. I am so lucky. I was given wonderful moments with her and we lived a lifetime of love I will cherish forever. I miss you, and I love you Cynch. Always.
© 2015 Peter Noah Thomas ~ All Rights Reserved