Editor's Note: Christie Young is an illustrator/web designer/youngish lady living in Brooklyn whose work has appeared in Nylon, Madewell, and Good. Her latest work, Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies, will be available in August of this year. For Signature's That Summer series, in which authors share personal stories on the summers that shaped them or their subjects, Christie channels her twelve-year-old self.
Because I am young (12) and as good looking as a young woman can be for my current situation -- zero braces, three training bras, and two visits to our State’s Capital under my belt (plus the outlet mall) -- I know this summer is going to be bad ass. And furthermore, how I know it is going to be bad ass is that this year I am aware you can be both athletic and cute, plus I have only 10% of my baby fat left, which is pretty good considering I am still like light years away from getting my monthly.
And because I’m at a very Christian summer camp and I have already very much accepted Jesus Christ into every artery of my young nubile heart, I know that I cannot just wake up one day and decide to be sexy instead of cute even though deep down I can tell this is what JC has in store for me. For example, on just day two, I had already figured out that the sexiest way to eat breakfast is to let your spoon or fork or spork rest on your mouth just one second longer than it should while looking directly then looking away then looking directly at your corporeal heart of hearts from cabin four. If my eating habits were a book, the big man himself would say read it and weep boys she’s all mine, though the smarter (and thus cuter) ones would recognize He was using what some people refer to as sarcasm.
At just two days shy of camp being over and thus no more games of midnight freeze tag or candy shack raids (pre-planned by counselor Liz) or stolen glances over our allotted two-Eggo breakfasts, I am freaking out that the last dance we had is maybe the last freakin' dance we are having. At this point it is nearly impossible to hide my G-given gift, though the boys this session are obviously way stronger than I am as they are very good at pretending not to notice. I can’t even make this kind of stuff up, one of them said he is going to be a Broadway actor one day so I know he is acting in the sort of way meant to make me feel better in a you-do-you-I’ll-pretend-not-to-notice-but-I-still-find-you-very-very-attractive sort of way.
I have been waiting for this last dance my entire two-week lifetime at camp this summer. The way it plays out in my head and hopefully my body is like this:
“Nice Umbros,” I casually say to Zach, because he is the tallest in cabin four and as rumors go, will have the largest feet and erection when he comes of age, which will coincide with the time that I finish college and am ready to get serious about my career and sex life.
“Nice Gap Kids dress,” Zach says to me, proving he can give a compliment as much as he can take one, and that he values brand names, which is important.
I adjust a bra strap just to prove that not only do I have breasts, they are ample enough to necessitate a bra and now both of us know it. He takes a step closer, his warm breath making the sweat on my upper lip glisten like a million diamonds.
“Can we just stay like this a little while?” he asks, his arms now around my waist, his breath carrying the sweet faint smell of Bubble Tape on it. I close my eyes so I can hammer every detail into my skull. His sticky forearms pressed against mine. His silky athletic shorts that are purple on one side and green on the other that I will remember forever by using the acronym PG, because this moment is definitely about to not be.
And that is as far I can go because I am still a lady and some things are private. Plus, you cannot plan these things like at all and if I’m going to look breezy as fuck I should go put on some natural looking makeup right now.