Mikey’s 13th Birthday
“I don’t understand the point of this game.”
“Shut up, Heath.”
“What? I was just–”
“Dude, shut up.”
It was Mikey’s 13th birthday. The two boys were in the laundry room in the basement of Mikey’s house with the lights out. The girl Mikey was crushing on, Jenna, had the brilliant idea of playing Truth or Dare and one of the girls, Tara, dared Mikey to take Heath into the laundry closet for “Seven Minutes in Heaven.”
Mikey immediately turned red and balked at the dare. Poor, clueless Heath was mystified, had no idea why they were being sent off together to be alone in the dark. He had no idea why Mikey had a problem with it; they spent a lot of time together in the dark watching movies, playing video games. They even still had sleepovers.
But everyone had insisted that they abide by the rules of the game. Jenna and Tara had escorted the two in and waited until they were seated to click off the light and shut the door, big smiles on their faces.
Heath waited a minute before speaking again.
“Hey, Mikey?” His voice was hesitant. He didn’t want to make his friend mad–er, any more than he already was.
“Yeah?” came the soft response.
“Are you mad at me?”
“Are you mad in general?”
Heath paused, unsure of where to go from there. He sure sounded mad.
“Ok. Then…” he floundered for a moment, then just stayed quiet.
Apparently that was the invitation Mikey needed to start talking. “I’m not mad, exactly. Well, maybe I’m mad at Tara and Jenna, but I’m not mad at you, man. I’m embarrassed.”
“You’re embarrassed to be in here with me? In the dark?” Suddenly it clicked. Mikey was embarrassed because his friends thought…well, they were being mean. They didn’t seem like very good friends, in Heath’s opinion. He swallowed hard, tried to keep himself from crying. Just because he wasn’t into girls like Mikey was, just because he…Well, Mikey should know better, should trust that Heath wouldn’t do anything to make him feel uncomfortable. They were best friends. That was the most important thing.
“No, man, that’s not it.”
Heath bit down on his lip to keep silent.
“I’m not embarrassed to be in here with you. You’re my best friend. I’m just embarrassed that they called me out in front of everybody.”
That doesn’t even make sense. “What do you mean ‘called you out?’ I am so confused right now.”
“Heath, they apparently know things about me that you don’t even know.”
Heath sighed. “Mikey, I don’t–”
He didn’t get a chance to finish his statement. Mikey slid across the floor to sit next to him, groping in the dark for his hand.
In the next second he found himself being kissed. It was very innocent, very sweet, just a lightly firm touch of lips, one of Mikey’s hands on his face to guide him. It was very perfect.
“Does that help explain anything?” Mikey whispered, his voice trembling.
Heath could still feel Mikey’s breath on his face, could feel how tense Mikey’s hand was on his face, waiting for his answer.
“How much time do you think we have left? I might need you to explain it again.”
Mikey huffed a quiet laugh. “Just enough, I think. Just enough.”