Sitting Ducks

“There are things you don’t know about me.”

He doesn’t look up from the joint he’s rolling, instead concentrates on his fingers, tongue flicking out to wet the end. I lean back on my elbows in a way I hope appears effortless, my forearms begin to ache almost immediately burning against the heat of the car hood. I lean into it until the pain ebbs.

He’s searching for his lighter, a silver Zippo with this shitty buffalo skull etched on it, he probably did it himself. He inhales. I close my eyes and let my head tilt back, feeling my hair fall down behind me coiling on the car like twin snakes. When I open my eyes his face is so close I can see the black hairs in his nose, it’s slanted slightly like it’s gotten knocked out of place a couple of times. I imagine him bloody, snapping it back with one hand. He purses his lips and I think, this is it, and I’m impatient and terrified, wondering if he’ll be able to tell I’ve only ever kissed that kid Keagan that lives next door to me—once—in a rushed game of sardines when no one found us and stopped looking. He tasted like milk and tuna and when we drove home that night and my mom asked how the party was, I blushed so deep I thought the whole car would know, like a siren.

I close my eyes and let my lips part thinking, for a second that I can feel his hot breath and then there’s smoke in my mouth and I’m breathing it in, shocked. Hacking.

He’s laughing his ass off when I sit up trying to swallow and quiet my lungs.

“I-shit-I told you I don’t do that.”

His laughter dies away and he takes another pull. One hand pushing his hair up and out of his face. Looking out past me to the water and my friends still splashing in the surf, even as the sun goes down branding the sky its own shade of blue.

“You should get back to your friends, kid.”

“That’s-I… I mean…”

“Hey!” Suddenly his eyes snap over to me like he’s just discovered I’m there, an afterthought. “Get off my hood, you’re going to dent it.”


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