Day 86: Lanes

We’re put in the same heat for the hundred meter dash, like always, but for the first time he’s assigned the lane right next to mine.

“Jesus fuck, it’s cold,” he mumbles, half towards me. He rubs his bare arms and shakes them out. I’m transfixed by the graceful shoulders, the ripple in his jersey. He’s grown since last year.

“Yeah,” I say lamely, my cheeks heating. “Meets in March suck.”

The official blows his whistle and points to our line. We crouch, our fingers pressing the asphalt, so close. I hear his breath. The gun cracks, and we fly.

Day 65: Keepsake

“Want to watch a movie?” I close my algebra book and grab the remote.

“Yeah, I can stay ’til nine.”

He scoots closer, pulling the crocheted blanket my grandma made from the back of the couch. It’s ugly as hell (navy blue with pink flowers) but she died, so my mom can’t get rid of it. He doesn’t mind, I guess, because he spreads it over our laps.

When I lean back, his arm is around me. I wonder what Gram would say if she could see us. If it would bother her that her roses are keeping us warm.

Day 57: Braid

We were kids when we crashed our bikes on the playground. You skinned your knee, and I rode you to my house for band-aids and a Coke.

We’re grown up now. I mean, we’re juniors, and you have your license and all. (But we still have curfew, and my mom will be expecting me.)

Your bedroom is a mix of both. You got rid of that pink wallpaper last year, but stuffed animals still crowd your bed.

“Can you braid my hair?” You ask.

You sit between my legs, your wavy hair in my fingers.

I’m going to be late.

Day 53: Fortune Cookie

There’s this guy in my French class, quiet, dark hair, fucking dreamy. Smart, too. He sits in the back and answers Mme. Devlin perfectly every time. Even his accent is pretty.

He came to pick up food at the restaurant tonight. Beef with broccoli, eight egg rolls, hot and sour soup, and enough mu shu pork to feed the offensive line. Pop didn’t see me slip a dozen extra fortune cookies into the bag.

I picture him picking one from the pile. He cracks it and smiles, reading the message from me to him, all the words I’ll never say.

Day 47: Ride

The snow is coming fast, piling on the windshield. I try the ignition again. Nothing. Fuck.

Three knocks make me jump.

“Need a ride?”

It’s Trevor, who got suspended our freshman year for bringing knives to school. He jerks his thumb toward his pickup.

We’ve talked, like, twice in my life. But we’re the only ones left in the lot, and home is too far to walk.

He drives with his hands on ten and two. The pickup rides easily, without sliding the way my stupid Corolla does. He turns up the heat and turns down the music.

“Warm enough?”

Day 28: Portrait

I can play it cool when I’m handing Kai the Blizzard he ordered through the takeout window, or when I’m secretly checking him out from across our Biology lab. But being paired up with him for the portrait unit for our Art elective isn’t the same.

It’s because I’m allowed to look at him. Really look. Study the shape of his eyebrows, memorize the slant of his neck, count the freckles that are only visible close up. And he has to sit still, quiet, and let me.

I wish my hand would quit shaking. I wish a lot of things.