Grace Tran, “If I Could Love You”

YA short story "If I Could Love You" by Grace Tran | Issue 8 features the art of August Osterloh and Amber Richard
Yet Unwritten by August Osterloh

The first time I kissed a boy, I was sixteen and in a sundress. Our bodies were hidden behind the citrus grove and his arms entwined around my neck. I remember the taste of oranges still burning on my tongue, their rinds tossed to the ground, discarded as if the fruit were not the sweetest we had ever tasted. I no longer ran from boys, fearful of their fantastical illnesses. My feet curled in the warm summer grass, arching as I reached for his shoulders. I traced his skin beneath my fingertips, a labyrinth I could not escape even if I wished to.

Sandra knows this story as well as I do, having recounted it myself time and time again in our pajamas, lying on the ground with a flashlight between the two of us, whispering so that my mother cannot hear our voices.

I remember his breath, hot on my neck, as he whispered words so softly I could not comprehend them. I didn’t understand nervousness nor curiosity, neither my desire in this act nor why I could not bring myself to touch his lips first.

I have never understood why Sandra enjoys this story as much as she does, but I suppose in a sense, we are all Sandra, dreaming of something we could have one day, perhaps, if only we are lucky enough.

I wish that is true. But—

She is wrong.

Everything beautiful dies.

Want to read more of Grace Tran’s story? Read our latest issue of The Passed Note here.

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