Sometimes there’s a girl named Sarina or Sabrina who invites you to places you don’t belong and presses a drink into your hand like a mismatched puzzle piece and disappears and finds you again later and walks you to the bathroom and holds your hair and strokes your back. At the same time, you puke in a pristine toilet that smells like lavender and her silver charm bracelet clinks in your ears like the voice(s) of the angel/devil renting your shoulder.
Sometimes there’ll be a boy named Tyler dancing with nameless girls and when he “trips” the mouth of one of those nameless girls with the skirts and high heels will catch his lips and the named girl will see it.
Sometimes there’s a girl named Jessica with long hair and legs who’s gorgeous and tight- skinned and loud and a hot ball of nubility that’ll burn out somewhere between graduation and her thirties whose eraser pink cheeks will eventually turn into loose jowls drooping of regret and extinguished youth- she’ll stumble into the bathroom with rivulets of mascara streaming down her face clinging to her best friend Sarina’s or Sabrina’s arms like the charm on her bracelet. They’ll sit by the pool for half an hour and talk about Tyler, whom she’ll crawl back to like a dog to a smelly ball after her mascara dries.
Sometimes there’ll be a boy named Josh Ken whose flirtatious advances seem to be platonic jokes like his initials until he smiles and wraps his hands with yours like his shoelaces on gameday. Who’ll look you in the eye with his cherubic features and admit he drove in two hours of traffic just for you because he wanted to see you and missed being table partners in Chemistry and drawing silly caricatures in your notebooks in red ink. He’ll suggest a quieter place so you can catch up and take you downstairs to the basement and lead you by the hand because the room is spinning like the earth on its axis. You’ll stumble and fall into his arms and collapse together on fortuitously placed beanbags and laugh and look into each other’s eyes and laugh some more. He’ll complain of the heat and bashfully remove his blue flannel and help you slide off your jacket although the underground air is damp, and the oxygen feels cool on your skin and in your lungs from the open window. His gaze will linger everywhere on you like the spotlight in the school drama plays and he’ll squeeze your thigh and tell you you’re beautiful. Tenderly, tentatively he’ll plant kisses on your hand like tiny seeds, then on your arm and shoulder and neck and lips, and he’ll remove his final layer to reveal a square chest you could only imagine a sculptor carefully chiseling, like Miss Thuney in art and ceramics 2. And the feathery lightness of his kisses will turn into a heavyweight anchoring your entire body, and the world will fade.
And sometimes there’ll be a girl who’ll wake up the next day and wonder if her body aches of “yes” or “no.”
The featured photograph titled “Prairie Gothic” is courtesy of the Wisconsin based artist JJ D’Onofrio.