We’ve been gathering spinners for our next hurrah. Hooray!
I asked Maddy, production intern from Fordham, to write a summer story. Delightful. Enjoy.
“Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?” — James Patterson
The mosquitoes whispered words of encouragement in my ears: “move clos-zz-er…” and “catch hizz eye-zzz.” I swatted them away and reached for another plate of watermelon. Brad popped open a can of Dr. Pepper; the delicate bone of his wrist emerged like a grassy knoll as he lifted the pop to his politely expectant lips. The Dr. Pepper gently invaded the corners of his mouth in its steady, wishing-well trickle. This was the stuff of fantasy.
Brad was at least 6 foot with light speckled eyes and powdery pink lips. His hands were enormous, but his spindly knuckles gave way to flattened fingertips, almost like those on a tree-frog from some ancient, mythic jungle. He bore his squared jawline (straight from the canon of perfect jowls!) at a slack angle, as if it were truly carved from some hefty, divine Mt. Olympian stone. The handsome ease with which he held his jaw, so that narrow sheaths of breath escaped from his smooth-petal lips, made me love him.
I was too ugly for Brad. Not in a sad or pathetic way. My eyebrows clung to each other like star-crossed lovers, and until high school I didn’t have the heart to break them up. The dark purple color bands I chose for my braces were less than festive, and so my mouth became more of a ripened boysenberry-black hole. My unromantic, wistful naïveté made me lose him.
“Brad, me-boy, y’know Maddy?” Rick’s voice pounced upon us. His glasses reflected the orange dusklight, his eyes dwarfed into tiny black orbs by the retiring sun. He clamped his calloused hand down at the base of Brad’s neck, sending a shock throughout Brad’s princely equilibrium. Droplets of pop clung to the undersides of Brad’s fingers. He sucked the gaseous nectar from beneath them before he loosed his other hand from his knee and extended it in my direction. I drank in his blue-eyed gaze (a nectar all my own), and extended my hand, my chipped sparkling polish and sticky watermelon fingers altogether unworthy of his touch.
His Amazonian palm engulfed mine. He, the tree frog, I— indeed— the tree. I let the undulating tide of his vacillating words wash over my face and shoulders. They echoed in the hollows of my ears and in the chambers of my heart.
He spoke: “Brad.”
We never spoke again.
But for the longest time I could’ve sworn I was in love.