Sunday, May 13, 2007

this one time

We were at this place, this like little diner place. I dunno where it was, James was driving and it was hot, I had my bare feet on the dash and my hand sailing and like a kite, you know, out the window, and my head on Thomas’ shoulder because he was in the middle, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt, because he never did unless he had to. So I wasn’t paying attention.

Anyway, horseshoe counter and red vinyl seats and all that. I ordered the same as James, a burger and a shake. He smirked at me like, girl, cantcha make up your own mind? But it was okay. We spun around on the stools even though they didn’t wanna spin really, and my thighs stuck on the vinyl, and while we waited for our food we ate sugar packets out of the dish and spat out the balls of chewed-up paper into the ashtray.

Thomas was standing next to the car putting on a shirt from the back seat, and then he was across the street stealing cigarettes and buying a pop from the 7-Eleven. When he walked into the diner he sat on the other side of James and when the waitress came over (she wasn’t too impressed by us, even though I smiled nicely at her) he ordered a burger and a shake, and so then I smirked at James, and James laughed, curling up and almost knocking his forehead on the countertop.

“Freaks,” Thomas muttered, and we laughed more.

The burgers were big, like six or seven inches across, but thin, with “thin buns, just like James,” Thomas said, quietly like he thought he could get away with it, and then they had to sort of wrestle with each other, still on the stools, until I hit James in the arm and stood up to whack Thomas on the head. Then they settled down, but James made me switch with him so I was in the middle.

Five bucks each and that was like all our cash, right there, and it was dinner time and everything, but the sun wouldn’t be setting for hours. We got back in the car and I was still in the middle, so it was harder to put my feet on the dash or lean on either of the boys. But I got to be in charge of the tapes, and I put on the Dead Milkmen and then Op Ivy and we all screamed for a while and then I put on the Velvet Underground and we mellowed out and smoked some of Thomas’ stolen cigarettes.

There was no place to go, so we just drove around, but then we found this unfinished little subdivision out on this dirt road. We figured nobody’d be there after nine at night, so we parked in the middle of the half-made subdivision road and got out and ran around. It was still hot so that didn’t last long. Thomas stretched out on a pile of boards and James and me sat on these huge spools of pipe.

Later I thought there must’ve been something going on long before I started driving around with them. And I’m not sure how I got to be the one, by the way, except I’d been hanging out with Annie earlier in the summer but she’d gone to band camp, so then when James and Sara broke up, somehow I was the one who got to take that spot on James’ velvety-plush front bench seat. We were always in the front because the back was full of clothes, shoes, tapes, bathing suits, other people’s yearbooks, you know. Empty cigarette boxes. A witch’s charm that Elizabeth made for him.

So yeah. We wandered further in and found some grass and lay down with a couple of sweatshirts to protect us from the dew. Before Thomas could get settled and lie down James sat up and leaned over me and kissed him, and yeah, I wasn’t sure how I’d not known it was coming. But they were beautiful and awkward and the lowering sun shined them and shadowed them, Thomas’ bright hair, James’ dark smile, so I lay there and watched until Thomas pulled away. I couldn’t read his face, but James was gripping my wrist really hard and the whole moment was like the fragilest thing I’ve ever seen. So I put up my other hand, the one not in James’ death-grip, and touched Thomas’ arm, like, it’s okay, and then they kissed again, and it was.

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