kesha, part 2

part 1

my past is marked at intervals by these intense friendships that built to some point of crisis then imploded. maybe kesha was the first one.

some distant relatives i'd never met and knew i'd never see again came to visit for a couple of days. they had a daughter around my age and my mom insisted that the three of us would have a great time, kesha and heidi and me. i wondered then and i wonder now what would cause her to think that three twelve year old girls, two best friends and a newcomer, could be anything other than disaster. i don't remember much about heidi but she was shy, sweet, she wanted us to like her. we didn't. this was our little world and she was the intruder. we resented her presence and we didn't care if she knew it.

on heidi's last night there, kesha slept over. we all crashed in sleeping bags on the floor of the bunkhouse. we had a plan, i don't remember who suggested it but we decided that kesha and i would sleep in the same sleeping bag and pretend to be gay. did we even know what that meant, really? i don't know what was going through my head but it seemed fun at the time. twelve year old girls are mean, and there's nothing like someone making you feel cooler than everyone else to bring that side out.

so we did. exaggerated groping motions inside the sleeping bag, loud moaning gasping noises. poor heidi never made a sound. i don't know how long we kept it up but at some point everything changed, the kind of change that's one-way, permanent. things got real. we didn't do much besides brush our lips together, graze hands over nightgowned backs and bare legs, arms loosely thrown over one another. that eye contact thing that only happens when you're lying down so close to someone, and how they look a little different that way. little unsure smiles.

i had to go inside the main house to use the bathroom, my head was spinning and i didn't really know what was going on so i just didn't think about it. i was autopiloting and i didn't think about what to expect when i got back but when i did we just started everything again. i was touching her and felt bare skin where panties should have been. wait..what?

"what happened to your underwear?"
"i took it off."

oh god oh god ohmygod too much and it wasn't because she was a girl, that never really bothered me at all. it was because i was twelve, i was also shy and sweet and innocent and this person i became when i was around kesha...that was her, not me. i wasn't cool or beautiful or popular, that was all her. i was just scared. she had made it real and i guess i didn't really want it to be real. i wasn't ready for anything to get real.

i mumbled something about having to go to bed and i got out of the sleeping bag and crawled into one of the bunks. i stared at the darkness forever and then must have fallen asleep because i woke up to the sound of the door closing, she was gone and the light coming in the window was early and gray. i got up and went after her, nightgown, bare feet.

caught up with her on the neighbors' dewy morning-cool lawn, the world was still asleep and she didn't want to talk, she said she was fine. i remember hugging her but i don't remember what i said. maybe something like okay i'll talk to you later, or i wish i could have, or don't hate me.

i didn't see her much after that. i have no idea where she is now. but oh what a memory. little girls trying to grow up. skin and lips and hair, summer nightgowns, and all the rest of the world blocked out by the thick padding of the sleeping bag. nobody else in the world, just us. just me and kesha. the most beautiful girl i'd ever seen.