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“What do you think?” he asked as I bit into the brownie. I laughed, “What is this?” He glared at me, “A brownie,” he smiled just a little, “with a few of my special touches added.” He winked and I raised my eyebrows, as I took another bite. It wasn’t exactly bad, however it was strange. “What exactly is your special touch?” I asked. Collin winked at me, “If I told you it wouldn’t be my special touch.” I raised my eyebrow, “You can tell me, I truly promise I will never try to recreate this recipe.” “Very funny,” he said happily.
It was a blissful summer moment as I finished the last piece of my brownie. The sun was beating down hard on my blonde hair and I could see beads of sweat beginning to appear on Collin’s face. “Brrr, it’s cold,” Collin joked trying to shield his eyes from the sun. I passed him the sunscreen and he read the bottle. “Have you ever taken the time to read the back of a sunscreen bottle?” I shook my head, “Only you would do that.” He nodded, “Exactly, think about it, it’s a government/sunscreen company conspiracy.” Suddenly curious, I reached across the table for the sunscreen and turned to the back. “There is nothing interesting on here.” Collin tapped his head the way he did when he really wanted me to think about something, “Alas there isn’t, however the point is that it could be. And then still no one would read it.” I rolled my eyes.
He took one of his brownies and silently bit into one, “Are we going swimming today?” he turned to look at me. I shook my head, “You heard what my mom said about swimming in the lake.” Collin rolled his eyes, “It’s dangerous and dirty and unsanitary and just no absolutely completely no!” he mimicked, “She said that years ago, things have changed since then; come to think of it nearly everything has changed since then.” He looked thoughtful, “Besides, wasn’t it you yesterday who was complaining that your mom didn’t care about you at all?” I nodded, “Ya, but I don’t need to break the rules she has made for me.”
He shook his head, took another brownie, and did another of his famous eye rolls. Then he took my hand, in a friendly way, and we ran to the lake. The scalding pavement burned my feet and I stubbed my toe a few times on the way there. Despite the heat, it was fun, “Hey, track star, slow down!” I called breathlessly and with a glance over his shoulder he slowed to my pace. My hand was getting sweaty and our hands slipped from each others’.
In one fluid moment he pulled off his shirt and did a graceful dive into the sparkling lake. He started powerfully swimming through the water. I took in the lake, it was a rare color of blue and the sun sparkles danced on the waves. “Hey,” he called while splashing spastically in the water. He disappeared under and shortly after he bobbed up again, “I’m drowning! Come save me!” he once again disappeared in and I took jumped into the cold lake fully dressed. He appeared at the surface, “You saved me,” he called from halfway across the lake.
I swam over to him, using loose strokes. I noticed his teeth were chattering and that’s when I realized how cold it actually was. I began to swim, using strong strokes, around the proximity of the lake. Collin followed behind splashing loudly. I didn’t slow down for him, it was just me and the water and he was the intruder.
I didn’t plan on going to shore, but that’s where we ended up. We staggered out, dripping wet with blue lips, onto the soil. Collin lay down on the dirt. Ants were crawling on his arms, but all he had was a peaceful smile on his face. His stomach moved up and down he had a large bruise across his arm and after a long silence I thought he was sleeping, but then he surprised me, “Why do you look at the lake so much? It’s always the same lake.” I shrugged, “Not really, some old wise guy once said you never see the same lake twice.” Collin shrugged, “That old guy wasn’t wise, he was off his rocker. Even if some waves are different and the water droplets aren’t exactly the same, it doesn’t mean it isn’t the same lake as yesterday it’s just been altered slightly.” I rolled my eyes, “If it’s altered it means it’s different.” “Just not in an important way.” I shrugged; to me the lake always seemed so different. It was full of small differences that to me added up to something big. In a strange way it was like watching a child grow, watching anything grow.
All the water on me had evaporated and I felt extremely dry and thirsty. I didn’t want to say anything because then he’d go home and the day would be over. Our days were limited and I didn't want to be wasteful. When he went on vacation in Canada this summer I was pretty sure he would change more significantly than the lake could change in a decade. I noticed small changes in him every day, but I was able to keep up and readjust, I was able to adapt to anything that Collin threw at me, simply because I loved him.
I was sure I shouldn’t love him, my best guy friend, we grew up together. His brother kicked his kickball right into my lawn and that’s how our friendship began, with a black ball with pink stars and a small boy with crooked teeth and a crooked smile. He approached me and with his quiet second grade lisp, due to lack of front teeth, asked, “Did you see the kickball?” I had nodded and pointed to the shiny kickball, “It is right over there.” He had smiled and thanked me. He started to walk over, but then turned and asked me if I’d like to play with him. I nodded and off we went to play a small kickball game.
But that’s exactly why I love him, ever since third grade when he yelled at Bobby Martinez for teasing me about my new haircut. I loved the way his hair looked and the way his eyes could display all his feelings. I loved how his jeans didn’t hang too low and his shirts weren’t brand name. I loved his natural tan he was blessed with. I loved his jokes and his laugh and his voice and his mind. I loved how he helped me learn how to spell ‘especially’ and I helped him pass the third grade. I loved everything about him.
Collin began to speak, jerking me back to the reality that he was leaving soon, “It’s getting late.” I looked at my cell phone, somehow it was already eight. Time with Collin passed so fast it seemed as thought time was taunting me. Perhaps time knew that I loved him and maybe, like me, knew that it wasn’t meant to be. “How long do you think we’ll be friends?” I asked. It was a slip of the tongue and I realized what a girlish question that was. He shrugged, “As long as we are.” “Sorry,” I breathed. He laughed, “It amazes me that you still get embarrassed by asking simple questions. They really aren’t that stupid.” “Gee, thanks. At least I know they aren’t that stupid.” He laughed and so did I. It was perfect.
He stood up and hoisted me out of the mud too. I looked down at my drenched and muddy clothing. “That’s a nice look for you,” he said jokingly. I nodded, too sad to really laugh. We began the long walk back to my house. “So something has been bothering you,” he said, it wasn’t a question, it was simply a statement. I shrugged and kicked a loose rock. The sun was beginning to dip behind the clouds on the horizon and I noticed a slight drop in temperature. “I’m not sure what it is though,” he continued, “So you could tell me or leave me painfully unaware.” I shrugged once again as we walked nearer to my house.
“Bad test grade? Friend problems? Family problems? Really, just tell me!” I shook my head as we walked up my driveway. He turned around, “See you in school tomorrow! Finally the last two weeks!” I gave a hearty, “Woot! Woot!” I then turned to unlock the door. I fumbled with my keys and finally I was able to get inside.
They say summer is like a new beginning. And they could be right. Whatever happens between June and September is seems to be off the record, almost like you could retake any identity. To me however summer was the equivalent to an ending. It was full of uncertainty.