It’s the beginning of summer. My favourite band is still Oasis and Gemma is still my best friend. I want her, I want to lie with her amongst the long, sweet-smelling grass on hot summer days. I wanted to be something, a man, the man, entwined with her. Awkward limbs tangling. I couldn’t control myself any more. The heat caused a sudden flush of engorged excitement. The clothes she wore or lack thereof. It didn’t feel like the calm, gentle awakening of spring where everything slowly flowered and discreetly pushed through the earth. It was the quick fiery feeling of an unexpected dry heatwave in mid-June. I felt as thick as the Oak tree I climbed today. The thick gnarled trunk with its years of growth and sudden offshoots of new beginnings.
I thought about Gemma. I thought about her sweet floral smell, about her body. Again, I imagined myself pressed against her mouth, lips locking and tongues dancing inside of her. Gemma still lives next door. Our parents still pop in and out of each other’s houses and I hide now. I hide away from Gemma. I never want to be anywhere else, sometimes I can see her undressing in her bedroom. I pretend I don’t care and when we meet and Gemma innocently takes off her tiny summer dress to reveal her newly formed body. I can’t help but feel the same throbbing sensation, hot blood pulsating through my body and Gemma in my head. I know I’ll be a man for Gemma soon.
I pluck up the courage. Gemma is in her garden. Lying on a sun lounger, reading Romeo and Juliet. It’s for her English class. I don’t get to read Shakespeare because I’m not as clever as her. Then it happens, the gush of a bucketful of water as I throw it over the fence at Gemma. She jumps up and makes a fuss, shouting and swearing at me and I don’t even know why I did it. So I run inside, scared. Scared of Gemma because I can still hear her yelling. I wish I knew why I did such a stupid thing but I don’t and blame it on my feelings for Gemma. I hope she still loves me.
I visit Gemma an hour later and she won’t speak to me. I’m not surprised. I still want Gemma, so I wait and talk to her dad. He laughs at me for being stupid, but hides a certain tone in his voice. He said he was fourteen once, that was when the colour drained from my cheeks and he knew. Knew the way I was feeling about his daughter. Gemma came down the stairs and I ran out of the door, to hear her dad laughing heartily through the open lounge window. Everyone knows now. I’m a laughing stock. I go home and hide again, furiously beating myself with thoughts of Gemma in my head.