I had a friend in college who suffered through an experience like this in high school. I guess it didn’t work out too bad for him: He ended up marrying the girl. My short story ideas come from a lot of different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This story has its share of sentimental fluff, but my goal was to put down on paper the anxiety, frustration and challenges that we all experience in adolescence. I’d love to hear what you think.
Jimmy put down the video game controller and changed into his swimming trunks. He had planned on another lonely Saturday when two neighborhood kids called and asked if he wanted to go to Lake Wylie.
The call had come as a surprise. Since moving to Lakeview, Jimmy had been having problems making friends. A shy 14-year-old, Jimmy shared a few classes with Brendan and Kyle during the school year, but the three had barely chatted when they saw each other earlier in the summer.
“Jimmy, you better get moving. They’ll be here any minute,” Jimmy’s mom yelled up the stairs. She knew what a challenge the past six months had been and she wanted to make sure Jimmy was ready when the boys came.
“I’m not sure what I think of these boys. Did you hear Mrs. Lawrence yell at Kyle last week for running through her garden?”
“You just be careful, okay.”
Fun with friends
Brendan and Kyle soon came and the three started walking to the lake. They talked about school, football season; and Kyle’s new dirt bike. When they reached the lake, Jimmy saw packs of kids littered across the beach.
“Hey Sarah, like my six-pack abs?” Brendan said posing in front of a girl Jimmy knew from math class and four of her friends. Sarah had been nice to Jimmy, offering help with homework and chatting with him about school activities.
“Keep on moving Brendan, because from where I’m sitting, I don’t see anything worth looking at,” she said, getting giggles from her friends.
Kyle pushed Brendan forward. Jimmy smiled clumsily at Sarah, before turning to catch-up with his friends. The three joined a larger group of boys and threw football and practiced diving from a small ridge on the shore.
At one point Jimmy got out of the water to towel off. “Wait up Jimbo,” Kyle said, putting his arm around Jimmy’s shoulder and pointing to an imaginary line in the water.
“Your turn to beat the Lakeview diving record.”
While Jimmy looked to where Kyle pointed, Brendan and another boy snuck up, grabbed his arms and pulled his shorts down to his ankles. The three boys forced Jimmy to stand exposed for an excruciating minute as he squirmed to get away, before pushing him into the water.
Jimmy imagined sinking to the bottom, but he knew he couldn’t stay underwater forever. He pulled up his trunks and returned to the surface.
“You go, Jimmy!” Kyle said, ignoring a lifeguard’s whistle for him to stop pushing people into the water. Brendan couldn’t stop laughing.
“Hey girls, did you like Jimmy’s show?” he yelled across the beach.
Time to leave
Jimmy considered punching Brendan and Kyle, but he knew wouldn’t get much help from the other kids. Jimmy pushed them out of his way, and started walking home. “You guys are real mature,” he said.
“Come on Jimmy, don’t leave. We won’t push you so deep next time,” Kyle said, getting another round of laughs.
Once out of eyesight, Jimmy started running. He remembered that he had left his shirt, sandals, and towel, but he wasn’t returning. When he reached home, he found his mom and fell into her arms. “Slow down Jimmy, it will be all right. Tell me what happened,” she said.
He couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t get over how wrong he had been in choosing his friends. After a few minutes, the doorbell rang. “Let me check on that and then we’ll go get some ice cream,” she said.
She returned a second later. “Jimmy, it’s for you. It’s a girl,” she said, helping him wipe away any remaining tears. When he was ready, Jimmy went to the door.
“You left these behind,” she said handing him his belongings from the lake.
“Thanks,” Jimmy said, starting to close the door.
“Wwwait,” Sarah said. “Are you okay?”
“I feel foolish.”
“I thought you were great. Everyone else is scared of them. But you weren’t. You stood up to them.”
“Thanks, I think,” he said.
“I’m having some friends over to tryout my new laptop and gaming system. Would you like to come over?”
“Yea, that would be great,” he said.
“One more thing,” Sarah said. She looked both ways and then kissed Jimmy softly on the lips. They kissed again and held hands. Sarah had to run home and Jimmy had to go back inside. They promised to see each other later.
Jimmy smiled as he went into the house.
He had a new friend. A girlfriend.