An Assortment of Boys (Part 2: Ethan)

Note: All names have been changed for privacy purposes.

Ethan moved here from New York City in the eighth grade, and it was then that I met him. I remember thinking that he had very nicely groomed hair for a thirteen year old. I didn't take any interest because he was preppy and polite and positively white-collar, and at that time I was going through my hippie phase and was looking for, well, exactly what Ethan wasn't.

He started dating one of the more popular girls in my grade - a Harvard-bound, tory-burch-wearing blonde in my math class - and it was like a match made in heaven. At the same time, I was dating the captain of the crew team and had become friends with a sort of indie-rock clique that shared my love for boy bands and health food. Ethan and I were part of two different social worlds; we never talked, or even thought about each other. We simply had nothing in common.

However, my mom and his were gradually becoming best friends. Both were (and are) notorious main line socialites, who love gossip and fashion and fine dining, and in about a year they had become inseparable. Fast forward to about two weeks ago, and my parents and I were at Ethan's house for a night of drinking and dining.

Ethan had just spent the entirety of his second semester of junior year at a farming retreat school in upstate New York, where he'd learned to cook and farm and tend to livestock. He told me later that evening how he'd also spent three days alone in the wilderness as a sort of meditation exercise, and quite frankly I was impressed. He'd always seemed to me like your typical country-club boy; tan, tall, and clad in Jack Wills attire. I just couldn't imagine him alone in a tent for three days, meditating in hike shoes and a parka and sketching pictures of trees and mountains. But he'd transformed during his time at the retreat, and the change was noticeable; he seemed more confident, more adventurous, and most of all, more likable.

I helped him grill the steaks for dinner - and by 'helped' I mean, drank my wine while standing near the grill - and as we slowly got drunk off of our beer and pinot grigio, the conversation began to flow surprisingly easily. I was impressed by his excursions into the wilderness as well as his cooking expertise, and he in turn seemed to genuinely laugh at my bad jokes. I was surprised during dessert when he invited me to 'take a walk' with him, alone, but I obliged.

We walked stumble-drunk in the middle of the street, in the dark, and stared at the stars. I told him how the night sky looked on the shores of Vietnam, and how you could see entire galaxies up there if you looked hard enough. He told me he wished he'd been there. After a few blocks he led me to a white, wooden gazebo surrounded by dogwoods, and we sat there and talked about Southeast Asia and everywhere we wanted to travel and everything we wanted to experience. It was all very 'teen romance' and I could tell that he wanted to kiss me. I was nervous, though, and Ethan was shy, and after an hour I told him that I had to go. I wished he had kissed me, but I could tell he couldn't, at least not that night. We didn't know each other at all.

I thought about Ethan before I went to sleep that night, and in the morning when I drove to work. Things were different with him. There was something in the way he watched me speak that made me feel beautiful, like I was meant for something big. I kept thinking about his eyes, hooded green eyes with dark lashes and little flecks of orange near the pupils. Although I didn't love him just yet I could see myself in love with him, and kissing him under that gazebo, and in school by the lockers, and in his kitchen. I thought he could be the first boy to make me fall in love like that. I still do.
August 10th, 2014 at 06:18am