Boys of Summer.

“Psst…hey,” I whispered. “So, do you think he had sex with his ex-girlfriend?”

“Umm, maybe if they dated for a long time,” Sheena said.

“You’re right, I will ask him later.”

We were sitting in a glorified shed my boyfriend Zach called the Tiki Hut, due to its string of palm tree lights draped from the ceiling. The shed was in his parents’ backyard, a place we often hung out. At 17, spending a late night at my boyfriend’s house ranked among one of the riskier things I’d accomplished.

Sheena was my best friend, and had been since 7th grade after we met over a shared obsession for Hanson. We were in the Tiki Hut, sipping on sour malt drinks, with Zach and his friend Josh, both slamming beers like true country boys of summer.

“How long did you date your ex?” I asked.

“Two years,” he said. I gave Sheena the look. Crap. I had kissed my fair share of boys and fooled around with a few, but I was still a virgin and planned on remaining that way for a while. Josh often joked about Zach being “hung like a horse,” a fun fact he shouldn’t have known. I didn’t know if it was true or not and I didn’t want to find out.

“We’re gonna go to the bathroom,” I said, pulling Sheena toward the house.

We went inside and down the dark stairs to Zach’s bedroom in the basement. Like most Indiana homes, the basement was unfinished, revealing walls of stacked cinder blocks. We searched with our hands to find the light switch.

“Two years,” I said. “I bet they did it. But maybe not…he seems so nice.”

We flicked on the light, and I walked over to snoop Zach’s dresser. It was a typical high school senior’s collection—watch, pictures of himself in his baseball uniform, and condoms. Condoms.

Great. How was he ever going to be satisfied with simple make out sessions if he’d already done it. I felt pressured, but the only thing I could do was wait and hope for the best.

Sheena and I went back outside to the Tiki Hut and proceeded to get hammered, which probably meant we chugged two Skyy malt beverages and then pronounced, “I’m sooooo drunk.”

I didn’t start drinking until the summer before my senior year of high school. I thought beer was disgusting, so I drank sugar-filled malts, which gave me horrible heartburn. However, I thought heartburn was a side effect of being completely wasted, so I just went with it.  I rarely drank hard liquor, except to shoot it. And one shot was my limit. After one shot, the muscles behind my shoulder blades would soften, leaving my arms to weigh me down.

“Oh guys! My arms are heavy!” That was the sign to me, and everyone else in the room, that I was on my way to Shlitzville.

But that night in the Tiki Hut, Sheena reached her limit, puking all over the family’s back deck. We decided it was time to call it quits and go to bed. Sheena and I went back inside to Zach’s room, and left the boys outside to deal with the mess. I curled up in Zach’s bed and found his stash of nude magazines underneath. I was aimlessly flipping through the pages while Sheena passed out on the bedroom floor. Just then Josh and Zach came downstairs, noticing what I had found. Josh grabbed a magazine from the stack and laid down next to Sheena.

“Well that’s just great,” Zach said. “My girlfriend and my best friend are looking through my porn, while I’m supposed to be outside cleaning up puke.”

I fell asleep shortly after, worrying over the sex for no reason. Zach kissed me goodnight when he climbed into bed, but I was barely awake until morning when Sheena and I had to drive back to town for work.

Zach and I had met a few months before that night, at Sheena’s house. A high school friend of Sheena and I came over and said he was bringing a friend. We went outside to Sheena’s driveway to greet them and spent the night talking on the swing in the backyard. When I left the swing to go to the bathroom, Zach explained his true feelings to Sheena.

“Wow, she’s got a nice ass.”

Of course, I found that out later in the night when the boys were gone and I’d gotten his number. Zach was cute, very tan, tall, and slender but with muscles. He lived in Franklin, Ind., a smaller town about 20 minutes from where I grew up. His passion was baseball and, like me, had just graduated high school and was looking forward to the next step.

Although I felt like Zach and I had a good connection at 17, we both knew our relationship was on a timer. I was moving far south, to go to Louisiana State University—something Zach admired, simply because he loved their baseball team. He was staying local and going to a community college.

Despite the relationship timer, it was a perfect summer—spending time with my best friend and two country boys. When I left Indiana months later, Zach and I left on good terms. We kept in touch my first semester away, even though both of us branched out to meet new people. He just might be the only ex-boyfriend I don’t hold bad feelings for.

Of course today, Zach is happily married and is soon to start a family, I’m sure. While I on the other hand, was closer to being married that night in the Tiki Hut than I am today.

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