"Psshh, you said jactation."
It was nearly the end of summer break, swim team season had come to a close and Christie and I didn't have summer jobs because all the poor kids took them. We burned the long afternoons under oak trees talking about our futures and which colleges we might like to pretend to graduate from once we were adults.
"I want to be king someday!" she would always say.
"Queen," I corrected her, "of what country?"
"This one," she would shout, her face covered in ice cream. "This flat one with the trees!"
Even at the tender age of 24 she demonstrated a love, if limited understanding of politics. We would debate for hours on the challenges facing a government leader; I would argue the duties of appeasing such a vast group of citizens with conflicting needs, and she would counter with the kinds of dresses she could wear that wouldn't clash with her throne. Then, finally the sugar rush would end and Christie would need to lie down. Holding hands in the grass, we stared up at the clouds and she'd tell me which ones she was pretty sure she had seen before. It was the best summer of our lives.
Toward the end of August her grandfather died and it all came crashing down. I was tasked with explaining death to her. We sat on her grandfather's empty bed for an entire morning but Christine's flimsy grasp on permanence as a concept made the explanation exhausting, and then frustrating and finally shameful when I yelled and she cried.
"Look, the point is that I don't want you to worry, Chrissy. He may be gone in this world, but you will always keep him in here," I patted her left breast because I was making a good point and because it was something I'd been wanting to do for a long time.
"In my heart?" she asked through sobs.
"No. No, that's ridiculous. In your lungs. There are tiny pieces of him all over this room, skin cells and hair that he shed while he was alive. We're breathing it all in right now." We both took a deep breath and stared at my hand on her breast.
"I want you to kiss me," she said.
"Here? With your grandfather inside us?"
"Yes, I want to feel something other than sadness."
"Rad." I kissed Christine, gently at first and then with pure power. I put my hand in her shirt and she grabbed it.
"Wait," she whispered. "We can't have sex."
"I know," I whispered knowingly. "You may have to preach celibacy some day. Also, it's 1993 and I'm only eleven."
It was the first of many intimate moments we would share together. We had been friends since childhood when her father performed at my birthday party as Bozo the Clown, but now we were developing new feelings and new emotions and new hair. No longer could we run off into the dairy fields together, drinking cow's milk while it was still warm, and not have it mean something more.
"No, I don't get. What's funny about a pearl necklace?"
After that morning of our first kiss, Christine would visit me whenever she felt hurt or accosted by the world and we would race off to my fort to rub up against one another, fully clothed, like two tiny sticks fending off the darkness of misfortune. I could help her with most problems, but the death of her grandfather still bothered Christie in profound ways that dry humping couldn't solve.
"Maybe we can contact him," she said one evening in the flickering light. I always kept candles in the fort just to set the mood.
I pulled her hand out of the flame. "No! Hot! Look at me, hot!"
"Maybe we can find a way to talk to him. His spirit might be floating around out there."
Seeing the desperation in her eyes, I had no choice but to consent. I was falling in love with her. We visited a local psychic gypsy who claimed to have been clinically dead once in a hospital before being revived. Consequently she was now a partial ghost herself, and though it should have worked in her favor existing in both worlds, it turned out she wasn't very well connected in either. Christie and I looked at each other stoically, both understanding the lesson about the struggles of mixed-race Americans this experience presented.
Christine's understanding of stoicism was considerably less subtle than mine.
The gypsy ghost kept summoning the wrong people, we could tell, because all the information she was telling us was way off. It would have been a complete bust except Christine stole a séance book when the old woman had her eyes closed.
We took it home and poured over the tricks of the occult, never realizing the catastrophic effects it would have on Christine's political career. She wasn't a strong reader and so gleaned most of her information from the pictures. She loved that book in ways I couldn't understand.
The week before I had to return to boarding school, she insisted that we hold a séance in my fort. I anticipated a Ouija board and maybe some lights with sheets thrown over them. I did not anticipate a chalked pentagram surrounded by my romance candles or a sacrificial animal huddled in the corner. But our séance was all of these things, and more.
"Are you naked?"
"Yay, you're here!" she sang. "This is going to be great, do you want to take off your clothes now or right before we get started?"
"Neither. Is that a chicken?"
She nodded while pointing to a picture in the book. "This man is going to help us find my granddad!"
...in exchange for a young boy's soul.
I cautioned her that maybe she was setting her expectations too high. She didn't pay any attention to me while she prepared the room, at least until I suggested that maybe I sit the séance out.
"No, nonono. You have to stay! I need you to cut yourself with this dagger. We need both our blood for it to work."
I finally put my foot down and told her this experimentation with satanic rituals was over. It was too dangerous, and it went against everything we believed in and because I still had some summer reading to catch up on. She lost her temper and screamed at me while throwing objects around the fort. She hit a candle with a vial of powder and both spilled onto the chicken, igniting it immediately. Her tantrum halted as we watched the fireball run around the floor and set everything else on fire. We crawled out, leaving everything behind and witnessed the literal flames of passion consume our clubhouse.
"Yaaaay! Chicken Fiiiiiire!"
The next morning I held a small funeral for the chicken but Christine never showed up. At school I wrote her letters and got nothing in return. I assumed at first it was only because she was mad at me, but then caught word that she had moved on to other men, and that she was filling the void my absence left behind with recreational sex. We haven't spoken since.
While the thought of her today still digs at old scars, that was the best summer of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I want to do this for her. I only hope that this account sets the record straight on what exactly happened when Christine dabbled in witchcraft early in her life, not just for her sake, but for the sake of America. Hear me nation, Christine O'Donnell is no sorceress or conjurer, she is only a bad person.
"Come here, I want to hurt you."
Soren is now just another asshole with a twitter account. You can follow him here.