Seventeen

[poetry]

I’m 17, and I am always in love.
The summer I turned fifteen,
a boy and his glinting, green eyes
ran through the sprinkler at work
and pulled me in with him.
We were kicked out of the building.
We made too many puddles.
On a patch of concrete out front,
with the sun shining in our eyes,
we turned our faces toward each other.
Confession: I thought he was going to kiss me.

I‘m 17, and I am always in love.
I drop my best friend off at the airport
for a 5 a.m. flight to five-thousand miles away.
Behind the dark clouds of a brewing storm,
the sun weakly rises, and I drive home alone.
It rains when I’m in the drive-through line
for a cup of coffee that only
goes to show how cold I am
without her. It turns out, I loved her all along.
I park in an empty parking lot to cry.

I’m 17, and I am always in love.
Las Vegas, ten o’clock, a social function
my parents dragged me into, until
my knight in shining armor appears.
He says, get in, let’s drive,
and he takes me to the suburbs.
I close my eyes at his command,
and when he tells me to open them,
I see the city shining below me.
He tells me that I have had the most
earnest, genuine reaction of
any girl he’s taken here before.
It makes me feel special
(in the worst kind of way).

I’m 17, and I am always in love.
I’m in a coffee shop trading sips of cappuccino
with a boy who smiles coyly over
the rim of his computer.
I help him with a math problem,
and his lips ghost against my ear,
close enough to feel, yet
far enough to believe it’s all a dream.
He buys me another coffee—
the quickest way to an academic’s heart.

I’m 17, and I am always in love.
I’ve had the same boyfriend for three years
(minus that one time at the dawn of spring
when I told him I didn’t know how to love).
He picked me up in October and told me,
I don’t need love. I just need you.
I wish I knew how to tell him
I love you.
I have always loved you.

I’m 17, and I am always in love,
but never with myself.
I eat lunch on a Saturday alone.
I spend fifty dollars on books.
I knit an ugly, mustard-colored scarf.
Let me be honest for a second
(with you, and with myself).
This is who I am.
I’m trying, I’m learning,
I’m loving. Just like I always do.

Abigail E. Calimaran is a full-time high school senior and part-time pre-K gymnastics teacher who also crochets while listening to Jane Austen audiobooks, consumes massive doses of caffeine, and dances alone to ABBA in her room. Her work has appeared in The WEIGHT and Overachiever Magazine.