When my very best friend, Craig, and I were about 12, we went exploring. We took two bananas and a few skipping rocks we'd been collecting. We followed the riverbank to its end past the Schneider's red brick house. At the end the ground was wet from the water, and we saw a dead carp -- a gold one -- that had washed up to die exposed in the wet mud. We stood a few feet from it, at the end of the river looking back toward my house over the water, pretending we were aliens and wondering what might be in those boxes down the riverbank across the grass.
After we skipped a few stones over the water, we'd decided to go on into the forest. Maybe we'd finally find the perfect location for that treehouse that every kid dreams of. Or maybe we'd just dream one up where we wanted it.
On this day we were talking of King Arthur and Merlin. We were wishing Merlin could make us into falcons. We imagined ourselves flying over the trees, looking for a mouse for our dinner. We checked out every tree, every hole, every bush around, above, below us. I even picked some yellow buttercups. Partway into the peninsula, we saw the amazing band of light shine down between the trees.
Craig took my hand and we walked slowly toward the lighted meadow. Nothing special or different was there. Only the light had made it special. We ate our bananas and watched as we sat under a nearby tree.
It was a young adult novel. It was sacred. It was 12-year-old romantic. I'll never tell whether that was time he kissed me.
--me strauss Letting me be