Puppy Love


Writing 101 – Write about the house you lived in when you were twelve. Use varying sentence lengths.

Our house on Patrick Air Force Base, in Cocoa Beach, Florida, sits on a narrow stretch of land between the white sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Banana River, both within blocks of each other. There are too many adventures waiting to be had outside – I couldn’t even tell you what color the curtains are if my life depended on it.

I’m twelve years old.

We’ve just moved here and already I have a crush on a boy named Steve who lives down the block. We are both so shy it hurts, but I can tell he likes me because he teases me when the baseball bounces out of my glove, or when we’re riding bikes and he’s faster than me. I gobble down my lunch on Saturdays so I can get back outside and be with him.

There are fish to be caught from the Banana River – seashells waiting to be found. He teaches me how to skip rocks from the river’s edge, his long hair (bleached white from the sun) falls across his face forcing him to toss his head to one side fifty million times a day. So dreamy. His skin is golden bronze and when his hand touches mine to demonstrate how to hold the rock, my knees go weak.

“Hey, you want to go to the movies?” Steve says to me late one afternoon.

“Sure!” I say. “When?”

“Now. It starts in fifteen minutes.”

The next thing I know, I’m running inside asking mama if I can go to the movies with Steve. To my surprise, she says yes and I meet Steve back outside a minute later. The theater is just a couple of blocks from our house. We walk side-by-side, butterflies fluttering in my stomach. The sun is setting and we can hear the gentle waves crashing on the shore a hundred yards away.

I’m going on my first date, I think to myself as we approach the ticket window.

Steve buys himself a ticket and walks into the theatre, leaving me standing there alone. I’m dumbfounded for a moment, then I realize that if I want to get in, I’ll need to buy my own ticket. My pockets are empty. Maybe this isn’t a date after all.

I run home – explode through the front door, make my way to my bedroom, find my safe with the combination lock, roll through the correct series of numbers, grab a quarter, and dash out of the house and down the street. I am back at the theatre before Steve even realizes I’m gone.

The movie is Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

For the next hour I sit in the dark theatre, next to Steve, wondering if we’re on a date or not. I stare at the screen but don’t pay any attention. The revolt of the slave apes against humanity is not enough to capture my attention away from the thought that Steve and I are alone together in a dark movie theatre with only a handful of other people.

Then everything becomes crystal clear. Steve leans over and kisses me on the cheek.

This is definitely a date.

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