The Smell of Summer

You can tell it has been a good when the smell of puke fills the air. Now, your employer feels you are truly working for your minimum wage salary.

“Welcome to adulthood,” say your parents.

You roll your eyes, because very seldom do you see adults cleaning up puke under the tallest, most upchuck inspiring coaster. No, that job is reserved for high school students with very inactive social lives.

You have collected seven baseball hats (“Come on honey, this is kids stuff. I’m not gonna lose the hat.”), $14 worth of loose change, several plastic bracelets with inscriptions like “Party Girl” or “BFFs”, one set of car keys, and a (blessedly) unused condom.

You are returning the contents (except the $14 “tip”) to the Lost and Found, when you notice a dark figure approaching you. Panic boils inside you. Of course, you are armed and ready with your…uh…plastic bracelets? You know. For flinging at the persons head. (You sarcastically congratulate your own genius. Claire, you truly are the brightest bulb in the tanning bed.)

The figure creeps forward. You are armed with cheap bracelets and your own ferocity.

Damn, you wonder, why can’t I remember what those Lifetime movies taught me?

Right. They all contain an excess of half naked men.

The attacker is feet away.

There is only one logical conclusion.

Jump on his back and hit him as hard as possible.

This is quite a struggle. Your legs are wrapped around this guys waist as you continuously (and not painfully) claw at your attacker’s face.

Then, you hear his voice.

“Claire, what the hell-”

Of course, it’s Tyler from French class who sits exactly three seats ahead and one seat to the right of you. That one with the perfect accent. The one who smiles at you sometimes.

The one who should consider a career in half-naked Lifetime serial killing.

“Oh my god,” you say, slipping from his back with a thunk. Smooth.

“Are you okay?” the not attacker asks as he takes your hand.

“Yeah, just a little woozy from the fall.” Or, from touching Tyler. “Wait, why are you back here anyway? I thought I was going to be raped, murdered, and thrown into the ocean.”

Tyler laughs. “Ugh, A.) I lost my car keys. B.) That is a really specific concern. And, C.) next time you fear for your life, just run. Way more effective.”

“Yeah, um, sorry about that.” Absolutely mortified. “Here are your keys.”

“Thanks.” He smiles. “Need a ride home? You got hit pretty hard when you were falling for me-wait, I mean, off me.”

You are blushing and queasy and unable to formulate words and probably smell faintly of a mixture of cotton candy and puke.

But, stars are shining. Words are overrated. The moon is shaped like a smile.

So, you agree and walk through the creepy and mildly romantic almost closed amusement park with a boy.

He smells like summer.

Victoria Testa, Age 17, Grade 11, Fiorello H Laguardia High School of Music, Silver Key

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