When I was 15, I fell in love with a girl. I didn’t realize it at the time because I’d only known her for a week, and up until that point, I’d assumed I was straight. Her nose was very straight and her hair was very long but what struck me was the gold, gold everywhere, like she had been blessed by a Greek goddess- golden sun streaks in her hair, a gold speck in her left eye, her skin like a lake at sunset, gold and smooth and pure. I walked behind her on the way to lunch and marveled at the sun against the back of her calves. She left after that week and I thought of her often, the gold in her eyes blinking in my dreams, and I longed for sleep.

When I was 16, we sang a song called Ballade to the Moon, filled with strange harmonies and a note a third below soaring. I never learned the end of the song that summer because I couldn’t help but listen to her voice, crisp like starlight, the only voice never off pitch. I was late one day and the look of disappointment in those eyes woke me up three hours early the next day. Her mouth pulled up at one side when she saw the seat I saved her and my stomach leapt and I was afraid.

When I was 17, she cut her hair short but it only condensed the gold. Her hair was brown, I should clarify- her eyes green, her skin white, nothing actually gold- but the gold never stopped surprising me. I couldn’t deny her presence in my dreams, now in the light of day, her voice on that note that still gave me chills through the fog of memory, the gold, the gold. I knew her for three weeks and I was in love; she was unreal, her starlight voice and her laugh like the curve of abalone.


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