Lisa Drysdale


       i think you owned a piece of my soul from the very first time i saw you - arms raised, standing by the homemade ramp with your skateboard at your feet and the world still spinning, still trapped in inertia by your leap through the air. i didn't see it - didn't see the trick you pulled. all i knew was that your hair was bleached white by the summertime, your eyes burned in triumph and i couldn't have looked away to save my life. i found out later that you'd hit the jump over and over that wednesday. the more frustrated you got the more determined you became until finally, finally, as the last rays of sunshine dipped behind the hill you hit it with a magical combination of speed, momentum and guts.

       you hadn't seen me yet - hadn't seen me standing on the lawn at the house on the corner, watching watching you fly. it wasn't until later, as all the kids from the neighbourhood congregated at the bonfire to drink bootlegged beer and contraband liquor - vile mixes concocted from whatever could be surreptitiously poured into a mason jar while your parents watched the cosby show, that you noticed me - hair as blonde as yours pulled loosely off my face, freckles sprinkled across my nose. i sat sipping from a bottle of orange california cooler, slight smile on my face, watching the flames dance and spark and kiss the nighttime air. moving during the summer is the hardest on the kids - long days filled with missing your old house and your old friends and dreading the first day of school. i didn't know anyone, really - just the green-eyed firecracker bundle of hormones who lived next door. her parents had taken pity on the quiet new girl reading alone on the stoop and sent her over to say hello. we hit it off ok and had hung out some - shopping and tubing down the river and watching the local boys play baseball and street hockey. she'd disappeared into the dark with someone she'd been longing for all year, leaving me here with the fire and the music and the night.

       you came and sat down on the log beside me, beer in hand, and started talking about the thunderstorm we'd had the night before. the lightning forked across the sky - god hammers crashing on the clouds. no rain fell and everyone emerged from their houses to stand at the end of the driveways and watch. you didn't look at me, just watched the fire and talked. i listed to the way your words rose and fell, only loud enough for me to hear, and i watched the reflection in your eyes. you were close enough that i could smell your skin - that peculiarly boy smell mixed with beer and smoke and a little bit of weed. i closed my eyes and lost myself in the sensation of your voice, your smell, and the light touch of your leg beside mine.

       when you finally directed a question towards me, turned and looked at me with eyes on fire and laughter dancing across your lips, i answered quietly enough that you had to lean close to hear - your ear inches from my lips, my words brushing against your face like butterfly kisses. it was only the slightest of motions that brought your lips to mine; the most minute shift in perspective. years later you told me that kissing me for the first time was like plunging into the lake on a hot day - it immersed you, shocked you, calmed you, and set the world right again. the party disappeared around us - voices fading to black as couples broke off from the group and the fire died down. i don't know how long we sat there, that night, holding hands and kissing and talking quietly about ourselves and the world and nothing at all, but you held my hand walking home through a sky already showing signs of morning and kissed me outside my bedroom window. i think you owned a piece of my soul from the very first moment i saw you, but that night, that night as we stood outside my house and waited for the sun to rise, our hands and hearts forever intertwined in friendship and innocence and peace.