We're supposed to be at our naughtiest during the summer, aren't we? Well that's always been the case for me. It's always brought out a mischievous side in me; stealing, underage drinking, hooking up... nothing too serious - nothing I won't grow out of, right? Apparently not.
There I was, Twenty years old, and my first serious job as an teaching aide in a school for emotionally challenged and aggressive youth. To my dismay I was posted in the Upper High School teaching English Lit to Fifteen to Eighteen year olds. My age was immediately an issue, it was hard to find the line between friendship and authority, particularly with the ones who were the type of people I'd be friends with normally. Thrown into a new and challenging environment, I was more than happy to chat with those few as friends at recess when the others were playing. I'd found my balance, and I could see I was making gradual progress in helping them achieve their goals. All was good, no need for any wrong doings.
Until Alex starting hanging around with my class, more specifically with the kids I was close to. From our first encounter I could tell he liked me more than what was appropriate, I'm old enough to recognise the signs, but I shrugged it off as a crush that would fade soon enough. But talking everyday during recess soon brought light to the many things we had in common, and guiltily, I admitted to myself that he was quite a cutie. But my thoughts weren't to go any further, I enjoyed my job and wanted to keep it.
But one inescapable field trip changed it all.
I was assigned the three easiest kids to watch over while we wondered around this educational fair. Alex however had insufficient company so was given permission to come with my group, I couldn't help but feel shockingly a little excited. My first wrong was a little exchange after Alex joined me outside the freebie tent. He'd gotten a new t-shirt in there and proceeded to change into it right in front of me. Without even thinking, I blurted,
'Isn't it a little early to be getting naked?'
I still don't know why suddenly I had no restraint over my speech, but I figure it probably had something to do with the attractive young man getting changed directly in my line of sight. He blushed, obviously not used to such vivaciousness. But soon responded:
'You're really beautiful.'
It left much to be desired as a flirtatious comeback but it was spoken with such sincerity that I could not help but start to think that my comment was not such a mistake after all.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, (I guess the subconscious order there suggests that I place more thought on the first option) that was not the end of our flirtation that afternoon. Despite his innocent and inexperienced response to my comment, his following actions were impeccably gentlemanly. I took the group to watch a magician, we all agreed that it would be lame but probably a good laugh to end our day. Fate managed to engineer it that me and Alex sat together a little off from the rest of the group at the back of the tent so we wouldn't be blocking the view for the younger children. If it wasn't for the surroundings it would be easy to imagine that we were just a normal couple on a first date - he brought me a coke and a brownie, brushed his knees against mine, and briefly touched my hand - I knew it was wrong. I knew. But a bit of me didn't care.
While we were talking he mentioned his birthday, he was soon to be Seventeen, shortly after he was due to leave the school. In one short sentence all the guilt was sucked out of the situation - not only was he a mere Three years younger than me, he was soon being discharged from the school. As our time grew short and I had to gather my group, he asked me quickly under his breath what I thought about age. It was vague but we both knew what he meant.
Honestly, I don't think I should admit my instantaneous thought, but I suppose there is sufficent anonimity here and certainly a large amount of guilt to dispel. Immediately, I thought, but wisely did not say, 'I wish the age of consent was lower.'
However I feel I should justify that I did not think this out of sexual intention, just to decriminalise the want of opportunity. Obviously I could've and probably should've ended things there, but with a few more weeks of school together it was a formidable task.
After a few subtle flirtations in his last weeks, and one failed attempt at a secret rendez-vous, I finally got a few precious minutes alone with him. It was his last day and the tumultuous weather suitably fit my mood. I'd had a stressful afternoon having to organise the entire after-school activies by myself as well as getting dreched in the sudden storm but I couldn't shake the feeling that they were not the only reasons for my bad mood.
His presence during the activities calmed me down, but the state did not last long. I slyly enlisted his help carrying stuff back up to the office since there was far too much for me to carry on my own and time was becoming an issue - but more importantly, I had the office to myself ensuring us a rare moment of privacy. It was time for our big goodbye.
It was obvious that we both wanted to take advantage of this moment - to kiss, to touch, to just achieve the intimacy we so irrationally wanted in such a restrictive environment. But it just didn't happen. All the flirting, the secret glances, the daydreams just broke down. Maybe it was simply because we knew it was so wrong, maybe we were just too nervous to take that path, even for a few minutes in heaven. It was a dare we couldn't handle and a truth we had to surrender.
Maybe I've resigned from my naughty summer escapades.