The boy was rich. Not rich like the kids in my home town, or at least not like any I knew. He was from an old money family, the next town over. The day he took me out on his little speedboat, I thought I had found a guy worth wasting my time on. I won’t go so far as to say I was an opportunist, but at age sixteen, a guy with his own boat, loose morals and a home without watchdogs was a find.
In my memory, it was a summer afternoon. We bought chicken sandwiches from a greek beachside stand, dumped them in brown paper bags and set off on the water. He pointed out a boat that he had stolen, or that he would steal. He would get arrested, or he already had. My father didn’t like him, but he seemed harmless enough.
The sandwiches were delicious, and possibly kicked off my lifelong love of chicken patties on sad, weatherbeaten white bread rolls. Passing the day like this, I almost felt like a normal girl, on a normal date, with a normal boy, but something about him refracted the sun.
A few nights later I tried to give him a blow job and he felt nothing. He was disinterested. He never tried to sleep with me. He was cold in the summer heat. We try to light damp matches. We strike them against every frictional surface until they crumble.
The night Amy stole her mom’s van, we met him on the road. We were driving so fast we lost our joint out the window and spent hours grazing our hands in dew, where the shoulder of the road met the manicured lawns of the neighbors. Maybe the police came. Maybe we just got tired. We abandoned our mission, leaving a memory like a streak of fire that disappeared into the night. Cold and fast. Empty.
A few nights later, I met him at the playground up the hill from my house, and sat in his car one final time. I was enamored with him, kissing him despite the hard edge of his smile. Despite the cold. He was electric that night, crackling with some new dark joy.
I have something to show you
Pick up your feet
I tucked my feet up tight, and he reached into the footwell. I felt his excitement, and it felt cold. He pulled back a secret panel in the fabric. I was curious. He pulled out a loaded 45.
His smile was cold, and the metal of the gun was cold. He was proud of his acquisition. He had found a new way to try to get warm.