Goodbye, First Love
by Caroline M. Yoachim
I fell in love with a boy from the playground.
Other boys dangled from the monkey bars and tried to make the swings loop all the way around, but he played alone in the wooden playhouse under the slides. I snuck up on him and watched him make a shimmering portal on the playhouse wall. I moved in for a closer look, but when he noticed me, the portal disappeared. He refused to speak to me no matter how many questions I asked.
"Just tell me your name," I said.
He shook his head.
We sat and stared at each other until it was time for me to leave. He didn't make any more portals. I waved goodbye, but he didn't wave back.
The other boys set up an obstacle course--up the slides and over the top of the monkey bars and down the chain of the tire swing. The oldest boy turned out not to be the fastest boy, which made him angry. I knew how dangerous that could be. Mom was like that after a bad day at work, and she took it out on Dad. The oldest boy needed somebody to take his anger out on, and he found an easy target in the playhouse.
I expected my friend to pull a vicious monster out of a portal and defeat the older boy, but instead he let the big bully hit him in the stomach.