She is sixteen and well aware of what he wants. What all boys want. She has danced with untold numbers of the bemusing erections they try to escape by going to the bathroom as soon as the songs end. She’s been propositioned for girlfriend-ships that were no more than health ed experiments. She reads. She gossips with her girls. And they could be to blame for this one. They nudge her to this one; one she cannot escape because, hell, he is the crush she didn’t realize was crushing on her. And so he becomes The One. The One who calls her love, her bluff, and is not embarrassed into an escape. Is bold and careless with his body, offering it to her especially. She knows many girls will accept and that he will not struggle with the offering. And so she is disquieted.
But she is clear if tentative. Perhaps after she decides she loves him. He laid that claim early—a month in maybe. Love, for her, she knows will take longer than until after lunch. But that’s what she ends up promising once cornered. After the boiled hot dogs and after she fixes her hair all carefully oiled, curled, and combed for today then messed up when he picks her dead weight from the living room floor—no really stop—carries her into his father’s bedroom—you’re a mess boy—throws her on the bed—what are you doin’—and grinds. My hair is all she can say. Because really, maybe—him and this grinding—what will lunch change?
His father’s bachelor pad is not as empty as she thought it was. A figure walks by the open door. Their tussling and giggles she realizes are on display for his brother who laughs and shakes his head like this is standard operating procedure, pees, and goes back into his room.
So, after lunch?
Get off me; you messed up my hair. It’s all she can say because it’s mostly all she’s thinking about. She doesn’t really like or want hot dogs.
After lunch he lays in her lap. She twists his hair while they watch game shows and soaps. He feels her up; she slaps his hand. Your head is heavy. She twists some more. They go out for a walk holding hands. His father’s neighborhood does not have the eyes of hers or his mom’s and as free as she feels here she knows the escape is not permanent. So when we gonna do this again? The time between after lunch and what’s left of the day before they get caught is the sliver between their bodies. He presses it closed with his body to remind her his offer stands. She will not open her mouth to answer or accept his tongue.