Amy had come up on her bike, jean shorts over a bathing suit, early on that hot morning. Her sister had given her 20 bucks to clear out, so riding bikes with me, the only kid nearby who was in her school, became her plan for the day. I agreed and we took off, finally retreating back to her pool hours later, broke, sweaty and sugared up, once the money was spent on Italian subs, Cokes, and video games downtown. There was a Camaro parked in front of the house. “That’s Eric’s,” was all Amy would say as we pedalled past.
We compromised by listening to her station on the boom box, the one that played all the hits. I would have preferred the rock station out of Worcester at the other end of the dial, but I let her decide, her black hair and dark eyes enough to squelch my complaints.
“Do you think Daryl likes me?,” she asked.
I was silent. I was sure he did.
“I hope he does. I really like him. Does anyone else like me?”
The answer burned in my chest like the salami we ate. I was sitting on the steps by the shallow end, only my face above the water, looking at her from the side. She was sitting on the opposite side, her legs pointed straight at me like a gymnast, her hair spread out like tangled seaweed on the water.
“I don’t know,” I lied.