Oh, summer barbecues. I went to high school in Texas, the king of the backyard BBQ. But before that, I dwelled in the land of catfish fries and crawfish boils.
Both places get too hot to handle in the summer, especially when you’re afflicted with that unfriendly monthly visitor. As unpleasant as she can be during the cooler months, she’s an unimaginably cruel mistress in the season of white shorts and sweat.
I’ve had my share of nasty summer moments in both the sweet mesquite and ragin’ Cajun settings, but the worst had to be when I was about 14. I still smacked of inexperience when it came to basically everything in life, and my still-fresh discovery of womanhood was no exception.
I’d found a crush in freshman year with ash-colored hair and honey-colored eyes, and I was floored. For reasons only fathomable in a Hilary Duff movie, he actually liked me as much as I liked him. We carried on the sad excuse that defines dating at that age, eagle-eyed parents shepherding us back and forth from PG-13 movies, for a solid two month romance – formidable enough by high school standards to land us a portmanteau-moniker a la Brangelina (though I shan’t share it, lest I reveal mi novio’s true identity).
As such, I was delighted when my young paramour invited me to a backyard shindig at his parents’ house. If I knew the hosts, it was to be a party of epic proportion; his family never seemed to do anything small, and their property was enormous enough to be dubbed an estate — with a newly installed hot tub, no less.
Ignorant of my impending condition, I carefully selected my favorite shirt at the time: a blue peasant top which I’d been told brought out my eyes by the gentleman caller in question. I paired it with a pair of white Bermudas and sandals; it was a surefire summer hit.
The event was everything I’d hoped it would be, but we kids couldn’t help taking a break from the adults mid-blowout and walking down to the snowcone stand down the street. My boyfriend’s mother cajoled us into taking along his little brother, so we begrudgingly allowed him to trail behind us in the 95-degree weather whilst he babbled away about Yu-Gi-Oh!, or something.
Sitting on the picnic tables chewing flavored ice together was more joyous in simple experience than I could ever describe, but the mood was broken by a scream of horror from the aforementioned little brother. “Oh no, Cailin, I’m so sorry!” he bawled. “I spilled on your pants!”
I looked down to see why he was so convinced of his error, and noticed a growing red spot on my thigh matched his Cherry Bomb flavor’s hue perfectly. “Oh, I, uhhh, it’s okay,” I sputtered, and ran back down the sidewalk. The boys, in realization of what truly occurred, guffawed loudly behind me.
Of course, I ended up throwing out my white Bermudas – by the time I got home, no amount of Oxy-Clean could solve that problem.
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