By the time I got into sixth grade, all us classmates were utterly familiar with one another. Many of us had been branded. For example, the girl who farted in front of everyone in PE class.
The only question each year was just to see how we’d be shuffled and assigned to a particular teacher. The hope was you’d be put in a class with your friends. If not, it wasn’t the end of the world—you’d see them at recess.
And then we got into sixth grade, and from out of nowhere, Derrick was in my class. Since kindergarten, Derrick’s parents had sent him to a private Christian school. He had been outside my orbit, though he lived on the hill with the rest of us. He had never played with us kids in the neighborhood.
I was aware he existed, though. He had been on the pee-wee soccer team my parents put me on. Derrick was the best player on the team. I was the worst. I would later find out he was good—no, great—at every sport he attempted. He was the natural. I was the unnatural.
So we never mingled—until sixth grade, when we became inseparable.
Derrick could have been the best kid on the field in any of the recess sports the normal boys played, but he chose to goof off with me, Boom-Boom, Rocket Ray, and Rudy the Scientist during recess. We spent the bulk of our time coming up with new ways to talk about girls’ chests—from flat to stacked
Knowledge was not an issue, certainly not first-hand experience. Not a one of us had actually seen a pair of breasts in the flesh—well, maybe our mom when she was rushing from the tub to answer the phone—let alone touched a pair.
We were deliciously suggestive, but what exactly we were suggesting wasn’t always clear to us. The wisdom among the boys regarding the ideal size for breasts was “more than a mouthful’s a waste,” which I didn’t get. Mouthful? I kept my ignorance to myself and said, “hell, yeah!”
The normal boys playing sports noticed us over there and they’d make snide comments when they’d pass by at recess’ end. What kind of kid doesn’t play sports during recess? While we thought, why would you want to play sports when you could be talking about girls’ boobs? What are they? Homos?
Thus stirred, Derrick and I set about to find . . . girlfriends. Providentially, shortly after we made this pact, word came from Rocket Ray that his sister, Debbie, liked me. Debbie was flat but other than that I found the prospect electrifying.
Simultaneously, Debbie’s best friend, Pamela, who was stacked—boombadee-boombadee-boom—declared her affections for Derrick, who was co-electrified with me. Back in sixth grade, she was a celebrity of sorts, a girl with breasts. Not just breasts. They qualified as boobs. Everyone was solid on this.
We when arrived, we found Debbie’s mother was home so Derrick and I suggested we go across the street to the woods. We didn’t have time to dilly-dally.
As we crossed the street, my heartbeat quickened. When we had gone deep enough into the woods, we “paired up” and then stood at a loss, unsure how to proceed. In particular, Pamela and I were feeling very shy about the whole endeavor. Derrick and Debbie, though, were all too ready to proceed so Derrick, only half-jokingly, suggested we “switch.”
When the time came to do the deed, I was unsure, as all first kissers are. I knew that “making out” was done mouth open, but that was probably pushing it for one’s first time, especially out in the woods next to your girl’s house with your best friend and his girl all of five feet from you and your girl’s mother peering through the kitchen blinds to see what was going on across the street. Hedging my bets, I had my lips partway parted when they connected to Debbie’s.
The physical sensation wasn’t really much of a surprise. Soft. Moist. What I hadn’t expected was the affirmation. Someone was orbiting their existence on . . . me, of all people . . . for that moment . . . one, two, three. Me!
Then our lips parted. Pit!
I looked in her doe’s eyes and I knew for certain I was 98 percent liquid, and, if I wasn’t careful, I was liable to dissolve into the matted grass on the forest floor and somebody would have to sponge me up—most likely Derrick, but he had problems of his own right then, like how to hide his boner. Me? Hell, at that moment, I wanted to show my boner to the entire student body. I did it! See?
Afterward, we decided to walk to the park holding hands, which was another heretofore unknown flood of affirmation. Somebody wants me! As we walked, Debbie and Pamela made Derrick and I promise, really promise now, that we wouldn’t tell anyone they had let us kiss them. They didn’t want it to get around at school that they were “loose.” Being “loose” was one step away from being a “whore.”
Not a problem, Derrick and I said. You can trust us.
But no sooner did we arrive at the park that we saw two girls we all knew. Spontaneously, Derrick and I burst toward the girls, shouting, “Guess what we did!” They were obviously impressed but tried not to show it. Then they realized their duty as girls was to look shocked.
Debbie and Pamela protested loudly but then giggled in unison. They couldn’t have been too concerned because about 10 minutes later we were a pair of kissing couples again and, once again, I was liquid.
When I was walking home with Derrick, I realized he was the closest thing I had to a brother. He was the brother who was good at all sports and I was the brother who was, you know, creative and stuff. But like brothers, our differences didn’t seem to matter. We didn’t care about impressing another and we didn’t play games.
When we arrived at school the next day, the entire sixth grade seemed to know—Ooh La La!—which was amazing because Derrick and I both promised the other we wouldn’t tell a soul unless we could do it as a team. No big deal, Derrick and I tried to say with disregard as if we boasted long resumes of kissing. No big deal. Just us men.