The river felt like wet green velvet. It was just a little cooler than her skin. Her long blond hair billowed on the surface as she floated on her back. She held her legs rigidly straight and you launched her like a torpedo upstream.

The wind rustled the leaves in the trees. The scent of honey suckle wafted across the water from somewhere upwind. She drifted past you and you grabbed her arm. She grabbed your arm and her body swung in a wide arc around you. You felt butterflies in your stomach. You braced yourself and launched her upstream once again.

The dappled pattern of the sun through the leaves overhead glistened off of her wet, black, one piece bathing suit. You found yourself wishing she wasn’t dating your friend. She stirred up feelings you still didn’t know how to deal with. You took deep breaths and tried not to stare at her erect nipples.

Even though her eyes were closed, you knew that she knew that you were staring at her lustfully. You blushed as you imagined her, opening her eyes and challenging you. She knew you had a crush on her and teased you mercilessly about it. But there was deep affection there, trust, like the trust she had in her big brother. You would do nothing to betray that trust.

She tired of your human torpedo game and swam around you just a tad more than arm’s length away. You stood flat footed on the bottom of the river and spun around to face her as she orbited you.

In a year she would be engaged to someone else, someone other than your friend. In eighteen months, she and her new husband would be off to Minnesota to teach in a rural public school system. She would teach Art. Her husband would teach English. And you? You would be on to other adventures.

When you got back from Europe three years later, you would meet a guy with the same last name as them. It would turn out that he was the husband’s first cousin. It is a small world. And your crush had long since faded. But the memory of that hot summer day in the cool, green river will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.