Cliche by Kayla Matters (2010)

Those baby blues are always playing tricks on me. We sat next to each other on two swings, rubber that had been sat on so many times, the black had worn away to reveal white, and so many butts had sat upon them, they had left a permanent indent. I blame Jimmy Henderson, the 200 pound toddler who lives on Oak Street.

Your tan, sandaled foot dangled near mine, precariously close to touching it, and I wondered what would happen if I moved those two inches. It was that time of day where the sun is melted like a popsicle, revealing reds, oranges, yellows, and colors that you didn’t think even belonged in a popsicle, much less the sun. It was your favorite type of weather, you had told me, so warm it felt like daytime.

“So what brings you to this lovely establishment we call the park?” I asked, with a laugh in my voice. There was always a laugh in my voice when I talked to you.

“Well, I came here for the wicked tire swing, but I guess I’ll have to settle for talking to you.”

Our witty banter always continued like this, with most people, the comebacks ended quickly in an awkward fashion, and I would then stare at the ground until whomever I was talking to walked away. Not with you though, we could talk for hours, which we did, many a summer’s night.

“So how are the Yankees doing?” You would joke, because you knew I could care less.

I would then reply, “I don’t know, you tell me.”  We were both completely uninterested, instead, we talked about funny television shows, I would try to explain my love of the internet to you, and you would try to explain the rules of soccer to me, which I never quite grasped.

“So how many players are on the team again?”

“There are eleven from each time on the field,” You explained patiently, “And there’s one goalie.”

Even though soccer was the least of my concerns at the time, I liked to listen, to learn. We would swing on the swings, slide on the slides, and luxuriate in our innocence. That’s all we were, in the purest sense of the word, innocent.

Yet, the whole time in the back of my mind I was grappling with how jealous she would be, no matter how innocent it was. Not once did you kiss me, not once was there any indication it could ever be like that. Though, when you smiled, and the popsicle colored light caught your baby blues, I couldn’t suppress the hope.  Right after the hope came the guilt.

The guilt is what prevented me from closing the two inches of space between your foot and mine, from letting your hug last as long as I wanted it to, but it couldn’t prevent me from, and I kid you not with this cliché, falling for you. (It was the way the light hit his eyes, officer, I swear.)

Maybe that whole summer was a cliché, a battle between reality and hopeless romance, the fight between guilt and hope.  The warm air hugging me, rainbow colored sky, and your smile certainly didn’t help me win the losing battle. I never wanted to be the lovesick girl, sighing and smiling all over the place, oozing her happiness onto innocent bystanders, but that’s how I ended up. Those darn baby blues were playing tricks on me again.

Kayla Matters

Southampton Intermediate School, Grade 8

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