When I was sixteen, I met my boyfriend. It was Fourth of July weekend, and I was camping with my family. My sister and I snuck off to meet some guy named Alex we’d met at the vending machines earlier that day. Alex lived in Milford, Michigan. “Here,” he said, holding up his hand like the mitten-shaped state, pointing to the spot where the ball of his thumb met the cup of his palm. I poked his hand back on the fleshy mound near his wrist. “We’re from Monroe.”
Alex was the cute one, but I got stuck with his friend—I didn’t learn his name that night. My sister whispered to me before she walked off into the woods with Alex, “Don’t worry. They’re my age, so it’s okay.”
She didn’t say what was okay, but just left me on the concrete edge of the lake dam with his friend, who I could hardly see in the dark. We didn’t talk, and in the scarce moonlight, with the sound of lake water falling through the dam behind us, he didn’t try to kiss me. He even stopped trying to talk to me at all after I started humming “The Star-Spangled Banner” to the cadence of bullfrog croaks and snapping cheap fireworks.
But he did reach out his fingers to meet mine, cold and clammy as the concrete we sat on. That was how he became my boyfriend.
A kooky and hopeless young woman recounts the spectacularly awful rise and fall of her first real relationship. Spanning five years of earnest loyalty to this young man, she discovers the truth about sex, religion, life, and herself, interspersed with memories of all the other boys who stole her heart for a short time. For fans of contemporary stories of first love and growing up, “All the Other Boys” is darkly comical, truthfully disappointing, and ultimately triumphant.
This is a stand-alone SHORT STORY at 6600 words (about 25 pages).