“Hey Shara!” Brandon hollered.
I hurried out of sight, turning crimson for being seen – especially by him. He was my crush, if an eight year old could have one. Neighborhood friends, we spent most of our free time at each other’s houses, doing a variety of activities: football, baseball, basketball, trampolines, hide and seek, or whatever else popped into our heads on any particular day. To say we were all best friends – siblings included – was a fair statement.
Today though, I chose to play alone; lost in the stories of my over-active imagination and acting them out as the scenes came to my mind. I dressed for my stories. Old garage sale clothes my mom had transformed into garments worthy of any stage. My dad had helped us build a playhouse in the backyard. It was not a large space, but it was perfect for our current range of ages; and it had a small loft in which you could lay down. I kept myself hidden within its walls during my special days.
Despite wanting to play alone, I quickly changed into my street clothes to avoid further humiliation after being caught, not noticing Brandon sneaking up on the outside of the playhouse.
“Hey Shara. Whatcha doin’?” Brandon asked, standing not too far from me as I opened the door.
I tried to hold back the warmth rising to my cheeks, but I knew I was beet red again. Shoving my hands into my pockets, I tried to brush off the previous endeavors created by my mind.
“Oh, nothing. Just felt like playing by myself today,” I replied carefully, feeling a coolness wash over my face.
“I see. Well, I kinda wanted to play with you today, if that was alright. Both Chad and I.” He explained, but I could not imagine why he was mentioning his younger brother at this point, not that it mattered.
“Well, okay then. What are we going to do today? Football? Bike races?” I was curious as to what he had in mind, rattling off some of our normal daily activities.
“Actually,” he shuffled his feet a bit, seeming a little anxious. “Ya know, I wanted to play house with you. You seem to be good at it.”
This time I could not fight the blush; I felt it all over my body. His declaration was far from what I had expected, and I was not sure how to respond. I guess, despite my attempts to be one of the boys, my secret days of being a ‘girl’, did not go unnoticed.
“Uh…uhm…okay?” I mumbled, not knowing what else to say.
“I want to be the dad, and you be the mom. Chad will be our kid,” he said
I was shocked, and a bit uncomfortable with his statement. Since I had never played out this part of my life with anyone else, I was hesitant to say yes.
“That sounds okay,” I lied, noticing the grin that was plastered on his face at my acceptance.
“Great!” He exclaimed.
At that point, we both made our way into the playhouse with him leading the way. We spent a good few minutes doing various things inside, with his brother playing outside. Occasionally he would poke his head through one of the windows and smile before he continued whatever game he was playing by himself. I pretended to make dinner, while Brandon watched me from a corner. After awhile, I called out to Chad that ‘dinner’ was ready. He came bounding in, and sat on the floor and pretended to eat whatever I had made up.
“Okay, Chad. It is night time now,” Brandon stated all of a sudden.
Chad laid down on the floor, and closed his eyes – faking a slumber.
“Time for us to go to bed now too,” Brandon whispered so I could barely hear him.
He climbed up into the loft and laid down, noticeably waiting for me to join him. I was a bit reluctant. I had never laid next to a boy before, at least not in real life. I looked at him. With his bowl-cut brown hair and green eyes; it was not surprising I found him cute, but this situation seemed a bit fishy.
“You sure?” I asked quietly.
“Of course,” he said, patting the wood plank underneath him.
Grabbing a hold of the ladder, I moved as slow as I dared, still not sure what to make of this whole situation. It was so strange, and quite unexpected. Once I made it to the top, I positioned myself so I was laying next to him, but not too close. It felt weird and became even more interesting when he laid an arm over my waist. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, but did not face him directly.
“Is it morning yet?” I asked after a few moments, kind of wanting night time to end.
“Not quite,” he said, pulling me closer. “Almost though.”
Something wet touched my cheek and my head snapped around to look at him. His eyebrows wiggled, and I just stared at him in shock. He had kissed me. The boy I had the craziest crush on had just kissed me on the cheek. I did not know how to respond at all. It was such a surprise. Not thinking, I quickly jumped from the loft and ran into my house, smiling the whole way. It was exciting, but so weird at the same time. What would I tell my parents? Would I tell them anything?
I rushed into my room and closed the door. I sat on my bed with my knees up to my chest, trying to sort through all the emotions flooding my brain. It was overwhelming, but enjoyable at the same time. I did not know it was possible for someone my age to feel like I did. How should I respond? Did this change our friendship?
Finally, my head began to clear and I started plotting my come back. I would need the help from others to make it happen, but I was sure it would not be a problem. The other girls in the neighborhood – I was sure they would help me. Now, to come up with an idea on how to kiss him back; surprise him in return.