Roberta was special. This he knew. All the other girls didn't play basketball, play baseball, or fight. The most he'd ever seen another girl fight in their grade was when Liz and Kelley scratched each other and threw baking soda at each other. Not exactly tough.
But Roberta. She would punch out a guy who said girls couldn't, from baseball to handstands. She would always prove them wrong, and then give them one to the face to boot.
So of all the girls, Scott should have liked another girl, not one who could kick his ass. Or any of the girls in that little quartet of sass. According to all of his friends, he shouldn't like girls period. And that logic worked for him for a while. Until the summer of 1970.
Me and my brothers have the stupidest ideas. Like that summer. We decided to bike to Chrissy's house and throw water balloons filled with lime jell-o. Clearly the most intelligent thing we had ever thought of. But after we threw them, Roberta started to chase me down the street. And she was booking it. I even got scared. But she tripped and fell on the asphalt. I turned, laughing to see her scraped face look from the pavement. And for the first time, she looked different to me.
Her dark eyes had a little glow in them, like the flickering of a candle when it catches fire, flaming up and crazy. And her dark hair. Raven's hair, I think a movie once described dark hair like. I didn't get it then, but I get it now. It was like a sleek sheet of hair that glinted in the sunlight as she shifted. I was looking back for so long without checking in front of me that I almost ran into the tree in front of the Masterson's house.
"Come on, Scott!" Kyle called, pedaling as fast as he could. I shook my head to clear it a little before pedaling after my brothers.
The rest of the day I was a little off. Even my mom noticed. I waved her off. No way was I going to talk about Roberta to my mother.
When I crawled under my covers, I started to fall asleep. And then I had nightmares. Or at least what a teen boy would consider nightmares: dreams about girls you're supposed to hate. In this particular dream Roberta and I were wandering the sandy lakeshore in our summer clothes, holding hands. And then we stopped, and she asked if I would kiss her. And my freakazoid subconscious said yes. So then we kissed. It was nice, I guess, until I woke up screaming. Kyle, Mike, and Davis all were standing next to my bed in the room I share with Kyle, looking like I had just had a heart attack.
"What's wrong?" I asked, confused by their scared faces.
"What were you dreaming about?" Mike asked.
"You seemed pretty freaked. And that was in your sleep," Davis added. I didn't know whether to lie or tell the truth. If I told the truth, they would never speak to me again. Liking girls, even in your dreams, is completely unacceptable. If I told them a lie, they would know I was lying. And besides, what would I say?
"Just some crazy falling off a cliff stuff," I said. Oh, that's what I would say. Good to know.
"Well, don't get too freaked," Kyle said. "I need to sleep. We're all going out to the farmhouse and the lake tomorrow, right?"
Oh yeah. Wormer tradition. We go out to this little pond a couple miles out of town to splash around in and cause a ruckus. Usually we just strip off all our clothes because it's simpler than bringing swim trunks, and we sit in the old farmhouse for a couple hours after.
"Right. Sorry," I found myself saying, and my brothers wandered back to their beds to fall blissfully asleep. I on the other hand couldn't figure out if I wanted to fall asleep or not. I didn't want to like Roberta like that. I didn't want to like any girl like that. But that kiss was kind of nice. Even if it was in my dreams.
We were just horsing around. How were we supposed to know the girls were hiding behind the log? We thought no one knew where we went. How they found us was beyond comprehension. But at the moment I couldn't consider how they found us. I just had to cover myself and run after the girls on bikes. They were laughing like banshees, throwing our underwear down the road. And Roberta had that little glint in her eye whenever I caught hers, making me smile despite the circumstances.
"Scott!" Kyle yelled.
"Why's you're face all screwed up like that?"
"He's thinking, dipshit."
That I was. It was less along the lines of what my brothers thought I would be thinking of, and more along the lines of please, please, Please, dear God, let Roberta not have seen anything. Because if she did, I'm never going near her house ever again.
She kissed me. Lord Almighty, holy God, she kissed me. Well, I kissed her first, but she didn't shove me off like some of my ideas made her. She touched my cheek just a little, and her mouth was soft, just like I thought it would be.
I'm in love with Roberta. Holy crap, I'm in love with Roberta. I'm so totally beyond screwed there are no words.
But I don't much mind.