Copyright is held by the author.
ONLY A day had passed since school’s end, but it seemed longer. The daily drudgery of homework and humiliation had been regulated to the trash bin of discarded memories, at least for the summer.
I was a tired 11 and shaped like a block of cheese. I lacked wit and humour, but I had courage, temporary as it might be, as I stood, stone in hand, beneath Lucy’s second-storey window, ready for one foolish act, an endeavour that appears reasonable only during the first breaths of summer.
I was not good at sports, so I was not surprised when the stone I tossed at her window missed wide and right, but I was shocked when it continued to rise, first over the neighbour’s house and then above the surrounding hills.
Confused, I watched the stone’s fiery trail ascend high above the clouds. Gaining mass and speed, it escaped Earth’s gravity well, accelerated past the moon, the outer planets and into the Oort cloud.
How did I know these details?
We all knew Spooky Lucy Marrow was the smartest kid in school, perhaps ever. She aced all tests, and seemed to know things that could not be known. She also chewed on her shirt collar and ate pages from her books. All the kids laughed at her, but I, Fat Andy Bumbry, did not. We were the class rejects, lonely bookends sitting at the opposite ends of the last row in the classroom.
After my errant throw, Lucy peeked through the curtains, smiled, and invited me up to her roof. It was the first time we had ever spoken. There she explained that the stone I had tossed was now a 10-kilometre beast of iron and nickel and would eventually return and render humanity extinct, no more important than the fierce Velociraptor or the lovely Xerces blue butterfly.
I should have felt guilty, but I couldn’t, not with her hand in mine and the power and magic of the summer ahead. Lucy was my first and only girlfriend. I was the chubby kid who first found courage and then found love.
If there was blame to be cast, blame it on summer.