Our Glimmer in Your Persimmon Days

I was thirteen and in love. Other kids in my grade were already fingering one another, having sex after school, wearing tube tops and black bell bottoms like the Spice Girls, while I’d never been kissed. I took the advice of my friend, AJ, and kissed the back of my hand whenever I couldn’t sleep. He said that’s how you practice, so you don’t kiss like a dead fish your first time and turn the other person off. I didn’t want to turn anyone off. I just wanted someone to look at me adoringly with pushed out lips.

I’d taken to hanging out with a group of nerdy girls since AJ was visiting his grandpa in the Philippines for a month. These girls were talking about the most popular couple in our grade, how the boy’s cheekbones could cut you, how pale his skin but dark his lashes and irises. He had the kind of hot that was bred from immigrant-level humbleness—a confidence that was always grateful. Even AJ pretend-kissed him at night. I thought the boy was alright. Mixed kids always got exoticized.