Christine O'Donnell is not a witch. I know this to be true because she has said so multiple times in her hunt for a Delaware senate seat, and because we used to be sleepover buddies in the early '90s. It's unfair to judge her based on the out-of-context footage circling the internet where she announces dabbling with witchcraft once as a teen. I was there with Christine during that formative point in her life. We spent those sweltering August nights on the floor of my fort, and I assure you that the closeness of our young and curious bodies left no room for secrets. Though you may accuse me of jactation, I recount this story only to prove that we changed as people that summer, not into witches, but into young adults.
"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