Featured Letter

Proximity

by Jessica Bergquist

 

To my first major love and heartbreak,

It was darker than usual for Summer.

We had spent longer swimming at your cousins’ house than I thought, but I had such a good time that I hadn’t noticed how much of it had gone by. I also didn’t notice my wet legs sticking to the vinyl car seat, or the smell of dirt and sweat that frequently oozes from the pores of pre-tweens and teens.

Instead I was focusing on the distance between our shoulders and hands, though I knew the gap would be bridged soon. Hoped.

And then you did bridge, only it was different than our usual friendly intimacy. Your face turned into mine, but I didn’t know why. It looked like you were trying to rest your head on my shoulder, only your trajectory was noticeably off, but I couldn’t tell if it was an accident.

Your face stayed pressed into mine for ten long seconds that seemed to stretch out in our favor. The salt of summer stuck to your face, and I felt it tingle against my mouth.

Everything I hadn’t noticed before—the golden pink clouds above us, your screaming brothers in the backseat, your mom’s Christian rock—suddenly became so clear. Like you wiped the fog from my tunnel vision by finally giving me what I wanted.

Then your sister saw and asked if you were kissing me.

You pulled away and set your head on my shoulder instead. I never wanted to grow up.

Unfortunately, eternally yours,

Your Old Best Friend

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Jessica Bergquist is a student at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. Her fiction is forthcoming in Vessel Press and (semi-)frequently writes for her site at jessicabergquist.wordpress.com and very frequently tweets @jrbergq