I’m sure many of you reading my column have experienced fleeting teenage love.
Be it for a day, a week or a fortnight, these short-lived moments have the power to define years or even decades of one’s life.
During my week-long vacation in Ocean City, MD, this past summer, I shared several of those days with a girl sweeter than one could ever hope to find; her patience and sense of humor quelled my fear of connecting with members of the opposite sex, and my memories of her will age better than wine.
At the beach
When I first hopped out of the car and started unpacking, my vacation plans were simple.
I was going to fish and get a tan during the day, and in the evenings, I would meet up with Mr. Blue who was also in Ocean City and maybe do a bit of creative writing. (Mr. Blue is one of my real-life friends frequently mentioned in my Discord column series.)
On that first day, I thought I had it all figured out.
It was gonna be a great time! I started fishing and got several bites, met up with Mr. Blue, and had a very relaxed and enjoyable evening. I thought to myself that if the rest of the week were just like that, it would be the best vacation of my life, yet I should have known life is never that simple.
The next day, I met the neighbors.
Fishing with a new friend
They were very nice people and so were their two daughters. The youngest, Ms. Red I’ll call her, joined me as I fished, and we spent several hours that day sitting on the pier talking about all that obsesses the teenage mind.
It was great to have company — even to me, whose best friend is solitude — yet I did not know what was to come of this.
The next day, I fished like a fiend; from sunrise to sunset. I was out there with my line in the water, getting nibbles and pulling up fish. Though I caught only two, three less than the day before, I caught something far more valuable.
When the sun began to set and cast gold across the sky, Ms. Red joined me again, beginning another chat like the day before.
However, I got the feeling that I should ask her to go for a walk; I did not know where the idea came from, but I decided I would. It went something like this:
“This weather is absolutely beautiful. You couldn’t ask for a better day. Back home on a day like this, I’d be on a walk, thinking about anything and everything … What do you say? Wanna go for a walk with me?”
She said yes, and after telling my mom I was off, we were off.
We strolled up and down Coastal Highway, walked along the beach, and wandered around the houses near our condo.
We even stopped in a supermarket to get into mischief, including riding on a mobility scooter and buying a bunch of snacks and junk food.
Apart from our conversations and the funny and adventurous girl she was, both of which surprised me, she was also an amazing walker. For a girl who was under 5 feet 6 inches, she was keeping up with me, a guy who is 6 feet 2 inches and walks for a pastime!
At that, I knew she was the one; my naive mind exclaimed,
“We were made for each other!”
First kiss … eventually
When we finally returned to the condo after the fastest three-hour walk of my life, a setup for a first kiss seemed almost designed. Throughout the evening, there were many opportunities for that kiss, but I was too self-conscious of my breath to make a move.
I hated the thought of such unpreparedness ruining this experience, so instead, I just said my goodbyes but made plans to walk again the next day.
“Tomorrow,” I promised myself
… and I made sure to brush my teeth.
All of the events preceding that next walk were a blur.
The only thing I wanted was to be with her again, something I had not experienced before. I felt a consciousness-altering attraction that broke through all other thoughts. I remember being so out of focus that I spilled my drink at a restaurant. Needless to say, my reaction was eye-opening, and I was glad to see her the next evening.
Our walk was shorter than the previous one, but it was by no means less impactful.
We decided to take a break on the front steps of our condo, and it was there that I had my first kiss — with her!
It was by no means a complex moment.
The motion had a surprising simplicity that also made it the most complicated action of my life.
After we pulled away, I immediately asked,
“Wanna do it again?”
To that, she laughed and agreed, and though it felt like only five minutes, we spent more than 45 sitting there with each other.
We decided we would make out a bit before we went home that night, and I was feeling pretty darn good.
Last days together
For the last two days of my vacation, we hung out every night, watching television and whispering nonsense into each other’s ears that are unmatched in their clichés-ness.
Time flew at a speed that spun my head, and before I knew it, our time was up.
On the last day, I made my parting visit.
It felt strange.
I felt no immediate fear of separation nor any soreness in my heart, but I knew that these feelings would overwhelm me when I finally got home.
I tried as hard as I could to combat them by securing as many connections to her as I could — texting, calling and even through the social platform Discord — but in the back of my mind, I knew it was over.
We kissed one last time before I got in the car again.
I looked back, then toward the road ahead, as we pulled away.
This series titled In My Son’s Words features the experiences of my son, Joseph, as a teenager and a child of a single parent.
If you would like to contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.