The Crush

flash fiction by A.W. Marshall

“Feel it?”

He had his fingers arranged in a circle, pressing against my chest like a little cage.

“Not yet.”

But I felt something. Kevin was my neighbor, and he said he had Telekinetic powers and wanted to touch my heart. Said he touched a girl’s heart from school last week, and she missed three days of class.

“I have to focus,” he said.

He was three years older and just before the bus dropped us off he plopped down beside me. I imagined he asked to touch my heart because he liked me too. I imagined his fingers reaching in, my heart cradled in his hand, my lips parting just as he gave me my first kiss. We decided on Saturday, while my parents were at Safeway.

“Calm down,” he said.

He continued to bear down on my chest, his eyes flared at his hand. He was pressing hard, and I imagined lifting my shirt later that night to see five small purple planets. I would put my fingers on each one and he’d feel it next door.

“Fuck,” he said, and I craned my neck around nervously. Even with my parents miles away, squeezing plums and fondling eggs for cracks, I worried. But the house was still just the house, the words disappeared.

“I can’t do it,” he said. “Kali was easier. Your heart is beating so fast I can’t center my attention on it. Nevermind, okay?”

“No wait,” I said, “I’m just nervous is all.”

I ran to the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face. I told myself, you have to calm your heart or he will not feel it and then what good would your heart beating so much mean anyway?

When I came back, he was sitting on the couch, wiggling his finger through a hole in the knees of his jeans. His blonde bangs hung down, and I could see the small muscles of his back through his Dwarves t-shirt.

“I’m ready.”

“Close your eyes this time,” he ordered.

His five fingers on my chest. My heart started to speed up, and it felt like my lungs suddenly needed more air. Eyes closed, I tried to picture my grandmother in her rocking chair, the most boring thing I could think of.

“Better,” he said.

And then a weird spreading pinch followed by five worms against my chest, wiggling in. His wrist moved to the side to be free of my sternum. One of my ribs ached upwards. Muscles across my chest bruised open. And I gasped as my lungs pushed back and his fingers squirmed around my heart, and now I couldn’t stop it from fluttering. He slowly cupped his hand around, holding it. The muscles of my heart beat against the muscles his hand, and I parted my lips, hoping.

Then he squeezed.

“Did you tell your parents I was coming over?”

I didn’t.

“Did you?”

“No,” I said. My heart flitted, but it could not escape. His fingers held it firm. I opened my eyes and he was staring into them, an indiscernible look across his face.

“Imagine if I can do this now, what I can do later.”

I could not imagine anything. Then this boy pulled me toward him, mashing my heart against my rib cage, my whole body following. I thought about the girl missing three days of school. My eyelashes quivered under his breath. He smelled like sweat and Froot Loops. His lips pressed against mine, harder than I ever imagined.



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