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I often find myself tagging along behind my older brothers as a child. But they will have nothing to do with me. They think I am a silly and uninteresting pest and worst of all– I am a tattletale. Nobody likes a tattletale.

Nevertheless, one warm summer day (I must be around 9 or 10 years old) they set off to the lake with one of their friends I have never met before. He is tall and tan with longish dirty-blonde hair. The opposite of my dull brown- haired brothers with their standard-issue summer buzz cuts.

And he wears cologne. The scent wafts behind them as I follow, as far as they will allow me. From across the water I watch them organize their fishing supplies in the wood gazebo. I notice his hand wrapped around one of the pulpy bark posts as he leans over the side, peering into the water beneath. I decide I am “in love” with this exotic boy and I watch him for a long time.

After they leave, I wander the gazebo, from post to post, breathing in the scent of his cologne lingering in the wood. I am overcome with a sadness…a yearning for his return. This, to my young heart—this sense of interminable longing…is love.

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