I lay awkwardly with Pauline in the tall grass, the side of my face rising and falling steadily on her chest. Henry sat nearby, turned away from us. He was picking at the scab on his knee. His hair, purple-black and straggly at the nape, needed a cut. His neck was the colour of fresh cream. He’d removed his blazer, and the flesh of his back teased through the thin fabric of his white shirt. It was easy to imagine the shirt gone. I held onto Pauline, hoping she understood why I was so still, why my hands weren’t exploring beneath her shirt or squeezing the tops of her fleshy thighs.
We stayed that way for a long time. Clouds covered the sun. The light became dull and grey. Henry took his books out of his bag, and lowered his head to read. A solitary bird called out. I wondered if Pauline had fallen asleep. I lifted my head. She moved the hair from my eyes. She kissed my lips, and I put my open mouth onto hers. I grew harder, and pressed myself against her.
It was over very quickly. Henry must have sensed an end, because he stood, and turned to face us. He looked serious; older, if that’s possible in such a small space of time. Pauline looked from me to Henry. She fixed her clothing. I cleaned myself up. We stood in a triangle. There was a quiet truthfulness in the air. I wanted it to last forever. Someone had to speak, to break the spell. It was Henry. He put his blazer on. ‘I’m hungry,’ he said. ‘Let’s get some chips.’ We picked up our backpacks. Henry led the way. Pauline waited for me to follow him. She walked behind me.
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.