The first time I met her was on the boardwalk.
The part of the boardwalk for bikers and joggers, before you get to all the stores and arcades and other shit. The part where the beach is right under you and the breeze isn't blocked off by ugly band-aid colored buildings.
I'd seen her around before. It was an overcast day; she still never goes out when it's too bright or too hot outside. She was sitting on the chilly metal railing tying up a pair of cherry red quad skates, the salty wind whipping her blue-white hair around her pale, mildly freckled face. Her nimble fingers worked to double-knot the thin black laces. I couldn't help but stare while I stood there, fumbling with my skateboard wheels, and pretending to wait for a friend.
When she looked up, finally done lacing up her skates, our eyes met.
"Are you staring at me?" Her voice was a raspy but still feminine. Like she used to smoke.
"Guess so," I replied in a sort of matter-of-fact way. She looked me up and down and frowned at my tight gray jeans, ripped up converse sneakers, silver lip ring, and green and blue striped hoodie. At my messy blue hair and eggplant-colored square glasses. I felt like she saw through me. She did see through me.
I wanted to say, "Tell me everything about yourself." And yet, "Whatchur name?" was all I could manage.
I smiled my toothy, sincere grin. She didn't smile back, but instead looked at me with curiosity as she jumped down from atop the railing and leaned back against it, continuing to observe me from across the narrow board walk. I looked her up and down like she was doing to me. She wore a pair of black skinny jeans with ripped middles beyond which I could see scabs and scrapes on her the skin of her knees. And a yellow shirt, and a shiny black helmet with stickers all over it, and a green canvas book bag, and those bright red roller skates.
"Firetruck Barnett." Also unexpected. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. Smart ass, I thought to myself. "Nice skateboard."
"Uh, thanks." I glanced down at the skateboard I was holding with my nail-bitten fingers.
"Nice." She finally smiled. Sincerely. She was beautiful. I felt ugly in comparison. I didn't know what to say to her. I wanted to go home and put on a pair of pants that didn't have grass stains on the knees from two days before. I twisted my lip ring nervously. She crossed the distance between us, sliding over the wood on her skates.
Everything happened so fast. She must have pulled me closer to her, because before I knew it, she was kissing me. Full on the mouth. I saw static in front of my eyes when she pulled away. She was looking at me with kind of an amused expression.
"Wow," I inhaled a shaky breath. I smiled my grin. She smiled back.
"I have a feeling we're gonna get along."