“You can’t be serious!” Jennifer said slack jawed. She was petrified of heights.
I was totally serious though. “That’s what playing truth or dare with me will get you” I mouthed back at her like she’d done to me earlier that day. I was going to make Jennifer ride every thrill ride at the beach amusement park that day or die trying. “Yeah there’s only been a thousand documented fatalities this year where someone didn’t measure properly to compensate for the elasticity of bungee cord” Shannon said like a news reporter to get a little further under her Virginian bff’s skin. Shannon rocked. She was like the little sister I never had and would occasionally come to my defense with Jen…on her terms only of course. “Yeah and if that doesn’t kill you…the human slingshot will!” Heather mocked and pointed to the guillotine looking platform with a large harness that, once secured to a body or bodies, could propel them over 300 feet straight into the air at upwards of 100 mph. Heather, however, had the subtlety of a freight train. She was as direct and brutally honest a human being I’d ever met. I respected her though because she was the same with everyone. She’d tell a crass and embarrassingly awkward joke to her mother, a stranger in the market or the Pope if prompted. Meanwhile, Jennifer became a little more reserved as the discussion continued.
But in all fairness…they all pushed the issue. Case in point…the three of them were teary eyed laughing when Jen dared me to wear a fluorescent yellow Borat style mankini that we saw in one of the roadside surf shops. The dare also required me to run one full block on the strip (interesting term) in midday on a busy Sunday with them closely following with their cellphones videoing the whole incident…from all angles! This would have been extremely embarrassing had I not also opted to buy the latex rubber horse head mask they had on display at the other end of the store. None of them noticed me sneak it to the cashier at check out. That made casually jogging passed hundreds of onlookers for two city blocks (yeah I added another block for good measure) in the full horse head mankini ensemble a little more enjoyable as I maintained some amount of anonymity. They were losing their breath laughing while following behind me to document the event like it was an episode of Jack Ass. I did get pinched in the buttocks at some point too and just prayed to God it was either Jen or one of the other two having fun with me. Nonetheless, I did it.
What was the truth I was avoiding you ask? Jen was going to ask THE question. I just knew it. In front of her friends who would’ve really enjoyed watching me squirm as I would have stumbled for an answer. I mean of course I did. But I hadn’t said it. Neither had she. I think we were both a little afraid of how attracted we were to each other. But I was trying to play it a little cool too because our bond must’ve been obvious even to a casual observer. I was more wrapped than the ends of her hair being twirled in her fingers whenever she was preoccupied with her thoughts.
I didn’t know you could be addicted to someone. Her scent, her breath, the taste of her lips, the slightest hint of a lisp she had when pronouncing certain words. The way she looked at me and said so much without speaking a word.
I was never more alive than in even the shortest of moments spent with her.