We fucked on the back of his Tercel. The hood was so hot that it nearly singed our thighs, the inside like a sauna from being out in the California sun all day. Even after the sky darkened to a Prussian blue, the trees of Woodward Park in silhouette against it, the air was as hot and humid as when the sun was right overhead. The memory of the day’s heat clung to the car, my ass scorching as I sat on the edge of the trunk, my panties dangling around my ankle, Jeremy’s hands tight on my hips. We’d been sticky with sweat before we even got to the park, and it cascaded off our bodies as he fucked me. I had to grab his hair just to keep my hands from slipping off of him.
There was still a week to go before I went off to college, but the air was charged with desperation to make that week last as long as possible, like we could push my departure away if we just kept screwing. We fucked a lot that summer, after we graduated from high school, when his dad was getting shitfaced at the bar, when my parents went to Michigan for a family reunion, after we went out for pizza, after we went to a movie, whenever we could snatch the time. Beds were nice, but we’d gotten used to Jeremy’s Tercel, the upholstery on his back seat cracking and tearing from our frequent fucks back there. All we had to do was sneak into Woodward Park through the rear gate – they never locked it – and I’d tear open a condom while Jeremy parked in a small lot, trees blocking us from the road so no one could catch us.
The weatherman on TV never shut up about it being the hottest summer on record. It was like the weather was trying to push me out to the coast, out to Pearl Springs, before I was ready to go. I didn’t think that I loved Jeremy, but I hadn’t felt love for anyone yet, at least not what I’d thought love was supposed to be. Still, his poetry was brilliant, he pissed off my parents, and the sex filled a part of me that I didn’t even know I had until that first night in the back of his Tercel. I’d fucked another boyfriend, and had a couple of one-night stands before we hooked up, but something changed that first moment Jeremy entered me, like everything that came before was just playing doctor.
He couldn’t come to Pearl Springs with me. Boys like him just didn’t go to good schools, and he was lucky just to get into Cal State Fresno after all the skipping we’d done senior year. Some C’s crept into my report card that last semester, but I’d already been accepted at Pearl Springs University and other schools. I got in at some colleges in the Midwest and New England, but they didn’t offer me any money. Pearl Springs gave me a full-ride scholarship. Maybe they saw more promise in my portfolio, or maybe both my parents being alums greased the wheels for me. Part of me wanted to leave California so I could get as far away from my parents as possible, but between staying close to Jeremy, and not having to pay my way – my parents wouldn’t co-sign for any loans – Pearl Springs was tolerable.
I tightened my legs around Jeremy’s body, crossing my ankles behind his back as we moaned and groaned our way towards climax. The air thrummed with buzzing sounds, high-pitched hiccups and cries from animals either fucking along with us or begging for some animal to come fuck them. Every time we screwed that summer, it felt like each climax was harder than the one before. It must have been the knowledge of our coming separation, that undercurrent making each fuck more desperate than the last one.
My back arched as the first rush of orgasm rippled through me, Jeremy growling as he came too. I rode the waves as long as I could, shivers coursing through my body, my hands slipping off his head from all the sweat. I laced my fingers together behind his neck so tightly that they hurt, just so I wouldn’t fall.
Still, I felt empty as I came down from my climax. I had a family dinner Sunday afternoon, and my mother wasn’t about to let me take Jeremy to it. He started at Cal State Fresno the day after, and between that and his work, and me needing to pack, I figured that we might grab a pizza but that would be it. That fuck would have to last us both a long time. It already felt like it wouldn’t be enough.
I slid over after he pulled out of me so we could sit on the back of his car. He offered me a Marlboro from his pack – I’d been smoking for a few years – and our cigarettes trailed gray smoke up to a sky so dark that I could barely make out the outline of the trees. Every August I could remember, as the days passed by, it was hard not to think about school starting soon, but that August felt so different. High school had started back up a few days earlier, and Jeremy would start at Cal State Fresno in a couple of days, but I still had that week to go, and even then I’d be going to school over a hundred miles away. It was like I had to remind myself that I was still going to school, that I hadn’t escaped that autumn-to-spring cycle that traps youth, the first of so many regimens designed to deaden kids’ minds, make them think that they only had a short space of time to themselves because “that’s just how the world is,” as Mom loved to say.