Summer passed by like a saint with thin half-parted lips. She wanted to tell secrets and she wanted to breathe at the same time. "Dirty boy," she said as she turned away with a smile, faded into the chilly unknown. I hid Miranda's love letters, her responses to my clumsy attempts at being D.H. Lawrence with a driver's permit. The letters were stashed under a neat column of cashmere towels in the bottom drawer of a mahogany chest. I kept condoms on page 98 of an old geometry textbook.

One hot night in August, Miranda and I stripped each other to flesh and protruding bone, to childhood's lingering scars, dry wriggly lines here and there, outcasts of the body. That night we were sunrise and sunset and the all engulfing dark. After falling asleep on what I thought was her breast, I dreamt of mother interrogating me about underwear stains and condoms advertised as "Overdrive." In my wimpy childhood voice, I told her that I didn't know how any of it got there. I wanted to tell her that boys could do worse things.

I woke up with my head on a pillow. Miranda left me with the messy impressionism of strawberry-tasting lipstick over the fine-grained canvas of my body. I felt slick. I needed to dry. For her, I was nothing but a work in progress. It was up to me to complete myself. Miranda was gone, a new school, another boy. Boys who didn't believe in condoms or poetry by repressed men with beards. There was only the bright-colored peacock lust of autumn. Mornings would be chilly. Before class, Miranda might find herself waking up in the backseat of someone's car.

I had flashbacks of that summer, of Miranda and I hand painting each other in complimentary and secondary colors. We giggled as we ran our dirty fingers over private parts. We grew silent and meditative. We discovered the essence of he/she, you/me, this/that, yes/no. We discovered boundaries and the ecstasy of unicorns. She said that she knew the names of ten different types of mushrooms. But she only named five. Still, D.H. Lawrence would have walked away, satisfied.

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