He kissed me. Granted I’m only eight years old, but he still kissed me. And I pushed him away. I told him we could be friends but nothing more. He was upset about that; we’ve been friends since we were two. He asked why he couldn’t kiss me. I told him it was because I didn’t like him like that- one of the biggest lies I’ve ever told. I like him, I always have, always will. He is my best friend and we do everything together.
I’m scared, worried and out of my mind. I overheard mother talking to her friend, Elaine, about their other friend whose name I didn’t hear, in the kitchen earlier today. They were talking about her in a mean way, a way I’ve been told to never talk about anyone yet there she was, the person who told to never talk that way about someone, talking that way about someone. A friend and a close one, but they were still talking like that about her. She’s a disgrace, mother said to Elaine. One kiss and then she’s pregnant. That was all I heard before I ran into my room and started crying.
I can’t have a baby! I’m eight, a baby myself. I can’t be a mother. I don’t get on well with babies and get annoyed when they keep crying all night. I dread the nights when my baby cousin comes over to stay and try to go for a sleep over to my friends whenever that happens. I usually am not allowed to go, so I sneak out to the tree house we built in the field behind my back garden a few years ago. He comes with me and we spend most of the night talking before going to sleep in the blankets we leave out there for occasions like those. But I can’t have one myself!
I spend the rest of the night crying my eyes out and trying to think of ways to hide it so mother won’t find out. I ask mother can I go shopping and she takes me. I see him in his garden, watering the tree we planted a few years ago but I don’t look at him. He would see something is wrong with me and I can never keep things from him very well.
I buy baggy trousers, hoodies and too big t-shirts. Mother looks at me funnily, but she lets me buy the clothes without comment. I throw away all my other clothes and fill my wardrobe with the new ones I bought. I wear the hoodies every day: to school, around the house, outside and everywhere else. I don’t know how long I can hide the baby for, but I’m going to try my hardest to.
Seeing him at school every day is hard. We don’t talk, we don’t sit beside each other nor do we do anything together. I hate it. I miss him so much it hurts but it’s my fault we don’t speak anymore.
After he kissed me, I stayed away from him. I didn’t know about the birds and the bees then and didn’t want him to find out I was having a baby. I was scared he’d tell someone and I’d be in trouble. If mother was talking that way about one of her closest friends, what would she be like to me? I stayed away from everyone in school, not talking much in case I let it slip.
He knew something was up with me, but I didn’t tell him. It killed me to stay away from him but I couldn’t risk it. Mother eventually asked me what was wrong and I broke down in tears and told her. I learnt about the birds and the bees a bit earlier than most people, but I was so happy I wasn’t having a baby.
I went back to my old self, talking and laughing in school again, but he wouldn’t talk to me. We had a fight, him saying I could tell him everything and I that nothing was wrong, and we haven’t spoken since. That was ten years ago.
We still live beside each other now and it is torture to see him every day but not being able to speak to him. I’ve had a few boyfriends but none of them were too serious. He’s had some girlfriends but he broke up with the latest last week. I shouldn’t be as happy as I am with that piece of news, but I can’t help it. I know I have no chance with him since we haven’t spoken since the fight, but I love to think I have one.
I still hate babies crying and go to the tree house when my new cousin, the other one’s sister, comes for the night. I do wish he would follow me there but I gave up that hope a few years ago. But that doesn’t stop me from glancing at his bedroom window whenever I pass it.
His bedroom window is across from mine. We used to spend hours at them, talking through them until the sun rose. We had walkie-talkies that never left our reach since we couldn’t have phones.
I love him. That’s common knowledge to me and I don’t know how I didn’t know that all those years ago. Sure, I was scared I was having a baby but I was eight years old! You can’t blame me for that after what mother had said about her friend. But I shouldn’t have stopped talking to him. I should have told him and we could’ve worked it out together. Then I wouldn’t have to watch him kissing another girl and holding her hand. That should be me and it would’ve been if I wasn’t so stupid.
I don’t have any interest in any other guys and end up breaking up with them after a few weeks. I’ve given up trying to find someone else to take his place. It’s not going to happen. That place will always be for him and no one else.
I’m only eighteen and will probably find someone else I love. I have years ahead of me for that and what I should be worrying about now is college. School ended last week and I’ve been sorting through all the letters I’ve received from the colleges I’ve applied to. But my heart isn’t in it.
We were meant to go to college together- we had it sorted out. He would take a year off until I finished school and we’d go together. Then he got held back a year when he was eleven and we’ve been in the same year since.
But that’s not going to happen since I don’t know what college he’s going to. I should know, we should both be going together, but I don’t. And I hate not knowing.
I’m leaving for college tomorrow morning. My bags are packed and in the car but I need to go to the tree house one more time before leaving. If I can’t say goodbye to him in person, I’ll say goodbye to him in the place that’s ours.
The walkie-talkie is in my hand as I climb up the ladder. I debated whether or not to bring it with me to college then decided against it. I need to move on with my life and bringing things that will remind me of him will only hold me back.
I haven’t been up in here in a few months now but nothing has been changed at all. The blankets are still by the rickety table, two chairs surrounding it. The material is still covering the open gap we called a window, the chest by the back wall still has all our books and papers and pens in it we used for drawing.
I couldn’t get rid of anything that reminded me of him no matter how hard I tried. I needed some connection with him somehow and if I couldn’t have him, this would have to do. I probably sound like a stalker or something, but I don’t care.
I sit down on the rickety chair and place the walkie-talkie on the table. I don’t know where I’m going to put it. In the chest? Under the blankets?
I get up from the chair and kneel by the chest. The pictures I drew when I was a child are piled in the right corner, his in the left. Spare paper and pencils are in the centre, separating the two piles. I pick up my pile of pictures and look through them, tears spilling down my cheeks.
There are pictures of things we did, things we saw, things we wanted to happen and everything else in between. I don’t wipe the tears away as I look through them: this is my grieving time.
A static sound reflects somewhere in my mind but I don’t hear what comes after it. My hands trembling, I replace the pictures to where I got them from and rest my head against the chest. Taking a deep breath, I pick up the walkie-talkie and place it on top of the sheets of paper. My hand freezes.
Turn around, it tells me. I look at it, my brain trying to remember the last time it spoke to me. The walkie-talkie only takes in noise it hears from one other walkie-talkie. His walkie-talkie.
With a pounding heart, I turn slowly towards the door of the tree house and see him. He’s standing in front of the open space, the thing we used as a door. The walkie-talkie is in his hand, his eyes bright as he looks at me. I slowly rise to my feet, not taking my eyes off his. The lid closes noisily behind me but I still don’t take my gaze from his.
I don’t know what to do. I didn’t expect to see him here. Should I leave? Do I say goodbye? Do I give him a hug? I don’t know.
He takes a step towards me and my heart rate speeds up. With his eyes never leaving mine, he walks up to me and stands in front of me but doesn’t touch. I’m shorter than him by a few inches and have to crane my neck to see his face. We stare at each other.
His hand comes forward and takes mine. Just that one touch and my heart will exhaust itself within a few seconds. But I don’t care about my heart. He owns it 100%, even if he doesn’t know that. His other hand travels up my arm, leaving a burning path in its trail.
Goosebumps cover my skin and it’s not because I’m cold. His hand reaches my neck and he cups my jaw, stroking my cheek with his thumb. My eyes flutter close at his touch, my breathing rapidly increasing. The hand holding mine tugs my hand forward, placing it on his waist as he pulls me closer to him.
Open your eyes he says to me, his voice but a whisper; I open them. His face is so close to mine. Blue on brown his eyes look into mine like they can tell him the secrets of the world if he looks long enough. His head tilts closer down and his nose rubs against mine, up and down like an Eskimo’s kiss.
My breath catches when his lips brush my cheek, right beside my lips. He moves closer to them until he’s less than a millimetre away. I see many emotions flicker through his eyes ranging from shock to something else… but I don’t say it for it would only be jinxed.
I know what he can see in my eyes for it’s the feeling I’ve felt for years. I want to say the words, the three little words that are common knowledge to me; the eight letters that have been buzzing around in my head like bees I can’t get rid of. But before I can say them, his lips touch mine and I forget everything I’ve ever wanted to say in my life.
I’m looking into his eyes as his lips move against mine, the blue eyes I’ve dreamt about. My free hand runs up his chest, around his neck and he uses his hand holding mine on his waist to move my other hand to join with the other. He pulls me close, both of his hands gripping my waist tightly, but not tight enough to hurt. He picks me up and I wrap both my legs around his waist and he holds me. He doesn’t let me fall but keeps kissing me. I’m the same height as him now.
My lips are tingling from his but I don’t stop nor does he. I tighten my arms, holding him to me in case this is all a dream. He tightens his hold on me, keeping me from getting away. I’d never try to get away from him.
The fierce kisses turn to brushes against my lips and cheek as he pulls his head back and stares into my eyes. He doesn’t let me go. I don’t let him go.
The thing I saw in his eyes before the kiss is still there. And I know what it is now, the same as what’s in my eyes. I love you, I whisper to him, never leaving his gaze. I say it in a small voice: loud enough for him to hear but quiet enough for him to not if he doesn’t feel the same way.
His lips touch mine for a second before breaking away. I love you, he tells me then his lips touch mine again.
The words I wanted to hear for so many years are finally said and the feeling I feel couldn’t be described. I feel as though I’m floating in the air, bypassing cloud nine as it’s not good enough for what I’m feeling. I have a cloud of my own now, only for him and me and it’s the best thing I’ve ever felt.