I Was Sixteen

Oh how sweet that year had been to me. I was climaxing toward the cloudy mountain in my love life. There were mounds of girls and a few more. I played the game with a passion. My standards were always kept high as I carelessly rummaged through the pack one at a time. In my mind I was looking for love. Every person needs someone to cling on. I needed to leech to that person forever. I dismissed even the girls that guys only dreamed of being mere friends with. I was on top of my game, and proud of it.

Inside, I was lonely.

My eleventh grade year in high school was just around the corner. I lived and breathed Highland Home, although, what was about to happen spurred from across county in Luverne.

Throughout the summer I crammed all my spare time at my fifteen year old cousin’s home. Jessica and I were not only kin folk, but close friends. There was another person that played their role in keeping me there. Somehow we both knew we would find each other at Jessica’s miniature apartment.

Amanda was the girl that made me feel right with the world. Every fleeting minute we spent together was like watching the burnt sun rise in the newborn sky knowing there was a whole new and exciting day ahead. She knew I had wanted her more than anything else. I knew the same about her. There was one small, but brutal, problem in the way. She had a boyfriend that she’d been with for two years. Therefore, I seceded in my actions to be with her. I came to find out she didn’t want to back away from this situation as I did.

“I need to know right now, do you really like Amanda?” I stood with limp legs, uncommon for me at the time, at the unexpected words from Jessica.

She apparently sensed my anticipation for her to say more. “She just broke up with her boyfriend to be with you.” My heart dropped at that moment.

My skin prickled at the thought of losing what we had up until this breathless moment.

This had to be my chance for something at least close to love. Jessica, of course, let Amanda know that I wanted to be with her.

I received a call from Amanda the next afternoon; we were officially a couple. I planned a small trip to Jessica’s place that night, with a short detour on the way there. She was my link, my link to the world and the most important person in it.

Amanda and I sat with each other on the paint stripped swing dangling from her front porch. The sun had already nestled beyond the verdant trees. Her directions were, go to the brown house with reindeer still in the front yard. This was odd considering it was late August. In Alabama, the air was still humid, almost enough to perspire after dusk.

With my arm bound to her dark shoulder we talked and learned of each other’s lives. She gently stroked her finger the length of my forearm. Our skin checkered together as we watched her three year old nephew slice the air with a limb as if he were a gladiator under Caesar.

I thanked God for the next moment. Our eyes fixed each into the others like a game hunter tracking turkey. We embraced tighter. Our heads inched closer, eyes half open.

I hadn’t realized until after our lips had been removed from their clutch that I was holding my breath long before.

“Wow,” whispering with little wind, she still gazed along with me. In my mind I spoke the same word, though I couldn’t possibly amass it.

Forcing my body not to shake violently, my heart galloped like a horse for its jockey. For the next few moments we lounged in the creaking swing clenching our bodies.

Two weeks later, school was back in full fling, which meant Amanda and I weren’t going to see each other near as much. In those two weeks I learned a lifetime’s lessons on how to love and get it back. We spent every waking moment devoting it to each other. There were problems, but we ignored most of them. Interracial couples were always ridiculed and judged wrongly. We were no exception, considering we lived in a rural town in the South.

We encountered a problem that made all the other comments and mocking ever so irrelevant. Amanda called me a week into school, only a day before I would see her again, crying.

She mustered between sobs, “We can’t be together anymore.” Those words burnt like a steaming iron pressing my chest.

Amanda pleaded with me to understand before she explained her reasons. I was growing weak. Maybe I should’ve been sad, but something, or someone, had caused this to happen. She was my savior from the dusty road I was bumping along. I had to be with her.

She told me she just found out she was pregnant. Though we had not yet been intimate, we had discussed it. Amanda was with her ex-boyfriend, whom would be the father of her future baby.

In an instant I lost everything I loved. Still not sure if I should’ve been sad, my stomach cramped. I wanted to place blame somewhere; maybe at God. I wanted all of my feelings to die away.

I loafed around for weeks, possibly months. There was no way I could push the hurt away. I even cried. The pain was as if I were crumbled beneath a tower with no hope of getting out.

I often sit and reminisce on those precious moments. The end still tortures me when remembering them.

It is again late August, the summer heat still playing around. I’m now two years farther from defeating that time of love and loss. I haven’t since thrown my heart out to the coyotes, but I’m working on it. I’m working on a different love. Maybe the setting summer swings me into a state of unyielding control of it.