The blinding yellow sun cast an almost fluorescent glow upon the world around them. They walked, hand-in-hand, illuminated, almost as if in a dream. The sun, so bright on this early morning, embraced the two of them with in its yellow warmth as if to protect them and guide them. As if moving through a jar of golden molasses, he squeezed her hand as they ventured forth as if in slow motion into this highlighted dream, their reality, their future.
He was running after his buddies in the busy playground on one of those warm July afternoons that reminded him that summer was here. Everywhere there were kids laughing and playing, and amidst all of the arms and legs and glowing hair, he was aware of the girls on the swings in a way he never had been before. Up until that moment he had seen them as too complex or emotional or partronizing to try to figure out, but today something about them caught his eye, although it very well could have been his allergies acting up. He rubbed his eye. Of the three girls, the taller one with the long hair and braces was the boldest and increasingly the subject of conversation among the boys that made him blush though that could also have been allergies, while the shorter one had amazing naturally curly blonde hair and a sarcastic wit to match that she must have spent hours honing in front of a small gathering of adults in her living room every Tuesday at 7:30 for $2 a head. But for some reason, he found himself strangely drawn to the quiet, average, mostly non-descript girl in the middle who was spending a disconcerting amount of time twirling her hair out of either nervousness or boredom or a just overwhelming desire to twirl hair as her small way of giving back to society. He was racing after his friends trying to catch them, joking that he was going to either tickle them or trap them in a cage and feed them a diet of worms and leaves which was turning into a running theme in both his art work and journal writing that was starting to slightly concern his teachers and at the same time he just couldn't keep his eyes off of this young, plain 12 year old girl on the swings and he wanted to spend time with her for reasons he wasn't at all aware of at this point but which could include planning ahead for needing something twirled in the near future, a conscious decision to diversify his friendship group to include females and a wider array of ethnic and cultural groups and as a shot-in-the-dark potential treatment for the rapid palpitations he felt in his heart whenever he saw her.
She knew he was watching her and her first reaction was somewhere between revulsion and joy except she wasn't at all sure where on that spectrum it lay. Not that he wasn't cute in that way that only pre-teen boys could be, and it was not that he wasn't exciting and daring in a way that her parents had expressly stated she was not allowed to be and it was not that she wasn't thrilled that he kept looking her way and almost repeatedly running head first into trees and playground equipment which she happened to oddly find quite attractive. Her friends swinging with her had already caught the eyes of boys and were gaining a confidence from that that she wanted to cram a sock into but she was always forgetting to pack extra socks in the morning. He was cute and he did like her and she briefly contemplated giving him a sign that she noticed, like a wave, or a bat of an eyelash or a roughly choreographed tap routine as she ran out of time to rehearse it enough last night because she had to study for her spelling test. Her friends made some comment about the boys, but she didn't hear it as she was lost in her thoughts about him. At least this was a reasonably enjoyable experience being lost somewhere she decided as opposed to all of the other times that seemed to involve deciduous trees. He wasn't the first boy who had looked her way and he wasn't the first boy she had considered seeking counselling support for, but there was just something about him and she couldn't put her finger on it at least not without drawing attention. She had never felt this way before, and while it was a strange and odd feeling, she was drawn to it and wanted more and more of it. Yes, her friends may laugh and others may talk, but she had to take the next step, whatever that was for a shy, quiet 12 year old girl who had never done something as bold as talk to a boy in public before aside from the time she kissed the mounted police horse on the mouth during the parade on Main Street.