The summer I was 16
I was telling everyone I was 17, because I thought I would be taken more seriously. I wore a lot of black because it "slimmed down" my new curves and lots of black eyeliner rimming the eye *above the lash*, because it made me look a bit asian, I thought, like a femme fatale.
I was restless and pent up with ideas of how my life should be, and desperate to expedite the journey to adulthood. A major part of this, I thought, would involve Euro-style affairs with brooding artists.
My mission that summer was to lose my virginity. Despite the best, most earnest intentions, I was unsuccessful.
I had a crush on a waiter at a late-night hangout. A messy, fixated sort of crush that us chicks get when we go to all-girls school, and have not been normalized by contact with male peers.
One day, I waited (getting endless refills of coffee) till the end of the 20-something waiter's shift, and he agreed to walk me home (I told him I was scared to walk home myself. A lie. I would bike throught the streets of my downtown hood at all hours of the night in the summer, loving the cool air, the empty street. I began to recognize my fellow insomniacs and night wanderers. We would nod to each other).
I don't know if I wanted to seduce or be seduced, but by the time we walked through an alley and sat on some old church pews, my heart was hammering with expectation. Would this be the night? Would we DO IT that night? I think we were talking about Syd Barret and Dark Side of the Moon. How the band was telling Syd to "shine on you crazy diamond" or someshit. I found it hard to concentrate. My head was spinning.
Then there was an awkward silence. "Listen. You are really pretty. And I like you. But you are so, um, young. And I just can't."
We got up, and he walked me home. Kissed me goodbye on the lips super-light. My knees buckled. I did not hear the but, I did not hear the "I can't".
He thinks I am pretty he thinks I am pretty. I stayed up until the sun rose, sipping poire williams (pilfered from my mother's liquor cabinet) and smoking my sister's cigarettes, with that kiss and those words running though my head.