School had just let out for the summer. Middle school was behind me and high school loomed large in the fall. Seth and I were wasting time at the Northgate Mall. Browsing for cheap sunglasses at a kiosk by the food court. A girl called out to us,
“Seth! Joe! Oh my god! what’s up guys?”
It was Maddie Jones. The younger sister of Natalie Jones, a pretty girl in our class. Maddie was pretty too and was a grade behind us. She was with another pretty girl, Bobbi Evans. Both girls were tan in an artificial way. Maddie had brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. Bobbi’s black hair was long and full. She was wearing a yellow halter top that tied behind her neck and showed off her midriff. Seth responded,
“Oh nothing. You know, just chilling. What’s up with you guys?”
I made brief eye contact with Bobbi’s large brown eyes then looked away quickly.
“Just doing a little shopping, you guys better not forget us next year when you’re big high school guys.” Maddie said playfully punching Seth on the arm.
“Ow!! watch it.” said Seth laughing.
“I’m just saying don’t forget us.” Said Maddie playfully pleading.
“Ok, ok, we won’t.” Said Seth.
“Of course we won’t forget you guys.” I said, agreeing.
“Just making sure.” Said Maddie squinting and pointing an accusatory finger at us. She continued,
“Anyways, we’ve got to get going. Bye guys!”
“Peace.” Seth and I said in unison.
“Bye, Seth! Bye Joe!” Bobbi said with a smile. We made eye contact again. I felt lost in her face.
“Bye guys! Love ya!” Said Maddi waving enthusiastically and smiling before turning to walk off with Bobbi.
“Man, Natalie’s little sister can be kinda annoying sometimes.” Seth said after they had walked off. He picked up a cheap pair of sunglasses, and examined them closely before trying them on. The shades he chose did not make him look cool. They had the opposite effect. I thought better of mentioning it to Seth though.
“Yeah, I know, right? Bobbi Evans is a fucking fox though.”
“I know, she’s got a fat booty too.”
“For real, she got a fat dook fasho.”
Seth laughed and put down the sunglasses he’d been looking at,
“Fat dook for days!”
It was midnight, and I was in for the evening. It was a week or two after I’d seen Bobbi and Maddie at the mall with Seth. I was looking at pictures of graffiti on the message boards at 12ozprophet.com. I was sitting in front of the family PC in an alcove off the kitchen when I received the AIM message,
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: hey!! is this joe?
40sandbluntz206: ya, whos this?
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: it’s Bobbi!!! I got your aim sn from vicky
40sandbluntz206: oh yeah? whats up?
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: oh nothing just hanging out with Val. im spending the night at her house.
Val lived a few blocks from me. She was friends with a lot of the pretty girls in her grade. I didn’t think she was very pretty though.
40sandbluntz206: oh yeah? thats whats up. whats up with you guys?
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: just drank a red bull and im feeling sooo horny from it.
My stomach was in my throat. I couldn’t believe this. It was like god had answered my prayers. The hottest girl ever had just told me she was horny. I wasn’t even sure girls got horny at this point in my life. I mean in theory I knew they did, none had ever vocalized it to me.
40sandbluntz206: really? thats crazy.
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: lol. I know😉
40sandbluntz206: you tryna meet up?
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: i would, but u live hella far from here.
40sandbluntz206: what? i live like 4 blocks from val.
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: really?? i thought u lived in laurelhurst?
40sandbluntz206: nah, im ravenna 4 life. i live right on the other side of the bridge from val.
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: ok i guess, if we can sneak out. where do you want meet us?
40sandbluntz206: how about the 20th bridge in 20?
XoXoLotsOfLoveXoXo: k, i guess ill c u there
40sandbluntz206: yeah, see u in a minute.
My heart was racing. It was too good to be true. I went to my room and put on a clean shirt. I went to the bathroom and poofed out my hair with my fingers in the mirror. I talked to my reflection,
“You got this, man.”
My mom was asleep. She slept heavily and I had no problem sneaking out the back door with out her noticing. The long alley from my house to the ravine was dark. There were no street lamps in the alley and the only light came from the motion-sensor lights that were triggered as I walked by. It was a warm June night. Summer heat had not yet hit its peak, and it was not hot, but it was not cold either. Stars twinkled in the clear sky. The sparse stars of a city sky. The brightest ones that shined through the light pollution of the city were unphased. The only stars I had ever known.
The alley ended at a quiet back street facing a wall of trees at the edge of the Ravenna Ravine. I cut through a small trail that led up to the bridge. The air smelled like trees and grass from the small field adjacent to the bridge. The streetlights on the bridge glowed yellow, casting orbs of light into the air around them. I could see Val and Bobbi walking towards me on the sidewalk on the other side of the bridge, their figures small in the distance. I walked out to the middle of the bridge and leaned against the railing to wait for them. I could see Bobbi smiling, but as she got closer the smile faded to a frown of confusion. They walked up to me. I smiled and said,
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Hey, what are you doing here?” Said Bobbi.
It was my turn to look confused and frown.
“You told me to meet you here?” I said.
“Oh fuck.” Cried Bobbi as she buried her face in her hands.
“What?” I asked.
My confidence had vacated my body. I had the beginnings of a lump in my throat. I tried to play it cool.
“This is my fault, I thought I was IM-ing with Joe Hamilton.” She said looking up at me.
“Oh.” I said.