SSM: “Pool Party” by Kim Chinquee

30 May

I was just having some tacos the other day with Booth editors Bryan Furuness and Robert Stapleton, and Bryan was talking about this story, talking about how he fought for it, how much he enjoyed the editorial process of it, pushing Chinquee to invest deeper and deeper, and how in the end, it came to be this story that pangs.

It’s awful in its early mundanity, a simple pool party, simple everyday girls going about a simple everyday summer. I knew girls like this. I knew boys like this. That sort of relating builds and twists along with an underlying pit in the stomach that nibbles and nibbles until it grows fins, and dumps the story into something awful and as much as I’d like to say unexpected, it’s not. You see this coming from miles away, a tension beneath the skin, crawling up you like goose pimples.

Gretchen and Amy and I pedal our bikes down the side street single file, our hair flying as we speed through the green light, coasting down a small hill that will take us past the railroad tracks where we’ll take a left to the house of a guy named Bunker.

Bunker is tall and almost sixteen, with brown hair, green monster eyes and a smile that is electric. His bright teeth are almost as shiny as his eyes. He’s been dating Amy since meeting her last weekend.

Some nights, Amy and Gretchen and I go to Visions—a dry dance place for teens—where we wear lots of make-up and low tops, hoping to find nice boys to dance with, in hopes of being their girlfriends. Sometimes before we go there, we drink berry wine coolers at Amy’s older sister’s.

The other night Bunker asked Amy to dance, and later they left for a walk. She told me they went to the woods and sat on a log, mosquitoes nipping their ankles, and she let his hand slip under her skirt—she said it was the first time any boy had moved his fingers inside her like that. He’d asked her to go steady, so she let him do what he wanted. He left two hickeys on the back of her neck. After that, he walked her to the curb.

Read the full story at Booth.

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