Heat waves danced like snakes being charmed from the curvy sidewalk ahead of us. We walked along, two kids following a long chain link fence that kept us away from the shortcut to our left of our school’s crab grass soccer field. The cuffs of our jeans dragged on the pavement, as we talked about nothing in that painful awkward way that only happened when you were sixteen and everything you said was life or death cool.
“Let’s cut through the field,” he suddenly said.
“I can’t jump the fence,” I said as I looked down and tugged at the ends of hair curled around my ear.
“You can go under.”
We walked to a break in the fence and I stared at it for a moment, looked back at the 7-11 we had just come from and looked down to the tall building nestled in the nook of the Franklin mountains where I was supposed to be at summer school. I crouched down and shimmied under, trying hard not to get too dirty. He waited till I was almost on the other side, then hopped the fence with little effort, and held out his hand to help me up. I dusted off the dirt as nonchalantly as possible and continued to walk. We talked about summer school and he complained about having to be there. I lied and agreed knowing it wouldn’t be cool of he knew I was there to get ahead. Each word seemed vitally important and I second guessed them as they came out of my mouth.
Mid-way through the field the sprinklers turned on attempting to quench life into dehydrated desert crab grass. We laughed and started to run, and as we ran he shoved me towards a sprinkler. I pulled at his shirt and tugged him along with me. Instead of running away we ran back and forth scissoring through the sprinklers laughing and screaming as they sprayed us. We shoved and pushed at each other as kaleidoscopes of light danced along with us in the shower of the sprinklers, and watery rainbows haloed in the sunlight. By the end of it we were soaked and my new Vans were muddy, but I didn’t care. My jeans hung heavily like wet clothes hanging on the clothing line of my hips as we tried to walk to safety. I walked ahead of him towards the school when he grabbed my hand and pulled me to a halt.
As I turned the laughter died in my throat. His head blocked the sunlight and I stopped breathing as a darkened silhouette leaned down to me. His lips met mine. I felt his wet hair against my check and his hand on my neck as we stood still for a moment. The surge of shock and anticipation hit me in the stomach. What I wanted I didn’t know, but I didn’t want the watery kiss to end. As abruptly as it happened it ended. Water dripped from my hair into my eyes. I smiled at him held onto his hand, and pulled him towards the building.
“Come on!” I laughed.