Most nights, Mark and I slept on the beach. It was too hot indoors, but the wind that came off the water made the beaches cool and comfortable. No one else was ever around to bother us. Our families never came looking. Mark’s mother was always drunk, or in bed with some guy, or both, and my parents thought my disappearances were Heaven-sent.
So we lay night after night undisturbed, talking and drinking white wine. When we had drunk enough, Mark would make a pass at me and I would acquiesce. We didn’t talk about it. We talked about the girl he had seen in town and how he should have asked for her number, or the woman who sunbathed naked down past the cove – girls to fuck, girls to marry, the two fags who lived in the beach house next to Lee’s – and he’d lie real close to me and run his hand over my bare stomach, and soon he’d be on top of me, his tongue in my mouth, my hand in his swimsuit. We were sixteen – still allowed the luxury of self-deception.
* * *
“I could lie here forever like this, just staring up at the stars.”
I took a swig from the bottle and didn’t say anything.
“I wish this summer would never end,” he said.
“Me too. I have to take Algebra II with Bickman this fall.”
“Why don’t you take it with Holtzer, like me?”
“Conflicts with French,” I said.
“So bag French. You’ve got your two credits already.”
“French is the only class I like.”
* * *
“I had a wicked fight with my mother today.”
I sighed, a long sigh, then answered.
“Yeah. She was drunk and started ragging on me again. I finally called her a bitch and she threw a plate at me. I ran to my room and started crying. I wanted to come and find….. anyway, I just stayed there ‘til it got dark. I think she had passed out when I left to come here.”
“Uh-huh.” He sighed. “How are you. I mean, how are things with you at home?”
“Same as usual. My parents are going to Miami tomorrow for a wedding. They wanted me to go, but I said no way.”
We were quiet for awhile, then he sat up.
“I’m going for a dip. You up for it?”
I shook my head.
“Okay.” Suddenly he bent down and kissed me. “I’ll be right back.”
I watched him disappear down the beach, and thought about the kiss.
* * *
He whispered something to me one night, when we had finished having sex. I didn’t catch it. It was short, and ended with my name. I lay awake for a long time thinking about it.
* * *
We stopped talking about girls, and getting married, and having kids. He said the two men who lived in the beach house next to Lee’s seemed very happy. Every evening, he greeted me with a kiss.
* * *
“Is something wrong?” he asked, pushing back my hair.
“You’ve been really quiet the last few days, and tense. Sometimes your muscles feel like they’re ready to snap.”
“No,” I said. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“Are you sure? I get the feeling that you’re mad at me.”
“I’m not mad at you.”
“Then show me.”
He pulled me over and started to kiss me. I wanted to tell him I was too drunk, but I couldn’t. He kept whispering how much he loved me and needed me. He started crying once. I held him and told him it was okay, and made love to him, wondering if I meant any of it, and hoping that I didn’t.
He clung to me until he fell asleep.
I didn’t sleep.
* * *
“You’re not coming anymore, are you?”
He tried to say it blankly, but his voice betrayed a desperate hope that I would contradict him.
He looked over at me. I didn’t contradict him.
“Why?” He tried to sound angry, but his voice cracked as he stifled a sob.
I stood up and looked down at him. He looked so warm and beautiful that I wanted to tell him that I was only kidding, and how silly he was to believe I would ever leave him.
I fought it down, but was unable to find an answer for him. So I said only, “Good-bye, Mark.” Then I turned and walked home.
* * *
I didn’t sleep much during the next two weeks. Every day I got more and more on edge. I drank to keep myself from shaking. I thought about Mark; his glistening eyes haunted me. I kept telling myself it would stop, but each day only got worse and worse.
One night, I walked to our spot on the beach. There was an empty wine bottle there. The sight of it brought me to an incredible rage. I smashed it against a rock, and ran until I reached Mark’s house. I picked up a rock and threw it as hard as I could through the nearest window. I got no response, so I screamed his name and hurled another.
No lights came on, but he opened the door and stepped outside. For a minute, neither of us moved. Then he said, “I guess we both had a pretty bad time.” He came to me, and we walked silently down the beach. We were both crying, I think.
We got to our spot, but instead of stopping, he took my hand and led me down to the water.
“Ever see the movie From Here to Eternity?” he asked, sitting down in the wet sand.
I nodded and sat down beside him. “I always wondered how they kept the water out of their noses.”
“Let’s find out,” he said, and his smile lit up the ocean.
I'm posting this story for two reasons. First, I want to share the kinds of things that were in my head when I was around your age. Second, I want to reassure those of you who think your prose writing is totally lame that there is hope for you. I assure you, my writing is much, MUCH better now than it was then. LOL. I guess I'd better post a sample chapter from my book on here to prove it, otherwise you're NEVER going to buy it. :-)