Connor’s jeans are frayed at the hems. He isn’t the kind to bother hemming them and his momma don’t pay that kind of thing no mind. Mine has fits, so I take up a hem when I need to. I keep my things nice, ’cause my momma told me she didn’t raise no savages. When we were kids she said if I wanted to run around with a boy like Connor I should do for him too, so he don’t reflect his momma’s lack of pride.
When we were kids, I mended Connor’s clothes when I could catch him.
Nowadays, he don’t let nobody do nothing for him. He says clothes only cover what folks don’t want you to see and he’s got nothing to hide. Connor throws off his jeans and jumps into the lake bare-ass naked nearly every day. After, he falls asleep on the lakeshore as the sun goes down. He told me once if it’s real quiet he can hear the grass whisper. He believes when he figures out what the grass is telling him, all his dreams will come true.
So…Connor’s jeans are frayed and burnished in all the right places — at the knees and the curve of his seat. They’re loose around those front pockets where change has collected — where sweat and heat have stretched and warmed and molded the fabric over his skin.
When he raises his arms, I see a strip of bare flesh between his jeans and his white T-shirt and my mouth goes dry with longing.
He asks me for another beer and I dig down deep into the cooler to get him the iciest brew I have, even though my hand stings and comes out dark red. He smiles at me when he pops the top off using the edge of the picnic table. I think it’s cool how he does that and he thinks it’s cool to impress me. His eyebrow lifts and we share a secret smile.
I watch as he brings his beer to his lips and then I swear to god, I feel myself flow past his lips, over his tongue and down his throat — exactly like I’m that beer and he’s consuming me and I’m taut…I’m rigid with nerves.
Connor flushes and looks away, but seconds tick by and I’m still watching him. I’m waiting, and then his gaze slides back to caress me when he thinks no one is looking.
I smile at him, like I always do — like I always have — because I like to throw my clothes off and go for a swim. I like to lie on the lakeshore and make music from the night sounds.
I know what the grass is whispering.