The first time I fell in love I was wearing a borrowed red sweatshirt with a hole in it. The boy wore a similar shirt and we flirted across a volleyball net. I was six. You can imagine how important this was.
Ma and I were at some farm. A friend of our neighbor’s was having a party. I think Mary wanted to get Ma out of the house for a little fun so they invited us along. That may have been the night I realized my affection for farms and barns and haylofts. It could have been the boy.
There was another girl there, a few years younger than me. She hung around us too, but we didn’t pay her much attention after a while. We ran through the yards, ate the ice cream and swung from the tire swing. I always did like a good tire swing.
Greg, the boy, was strawberry blond and freckled and two years older. He made up jokes. I blushed. He put his arm around me. I giggled.
Evening showed up as she always does, so pretty in the summer. Ma took a tour of the farm. We went with, chasing through the hayloft, finding quiet.
Greg got close then, looked at me so seriously, “Do you wanna kiss?”
“Okay,” I said and he leaned in. It was just a little peck on the lips, a little boy’s peak into the real thing.
He must have had big brothers. He must have known something, at least. “We have to lay down,” he said.
“Yeah. If I’m going to kiss you we have to lay down.”
“Someone might see us,” I said.
We bobbed our heads around the corner. The adults were lost to us. “Okay,” I said and lay down. He crawled on top of me, closed his eyes and again, a little peck.
That night we drank lemon aid in a stranger’s living room. Somebody took our picture.