I am either or eleven or twelve.
I cannot remember.
It was summer camp and my group was doing arts and crafts.
The project du jour was to make plaster masks of each others faces.
Robert lets me do his mask.
This is huge.
Because Robert is tall. And cute. And a singer. And a straight boy at theater camp.
There was a procedure to the mask making.
You were to line your subject’s face with either saran wrap (with nose holes for oxygen of course) or rub their face with Vaseline. Then and only then you may proceed to wet the plaster strips and make the mask.
Guess which of these steps I forget?
I’ll never forget the sound he made when I tried to pry that damn mask off his face.
It was a combo of a woodland creature getting caught in a trap and a very angry sounding man.
The row of eyelashes and eyebrows that were embedded in the mask were pretty astonishing to look at.
His face was red as a cherry.
I was laughing.
Except it was soooooooooooooo not funny.
I just laugh when I’m nervous (did you know that about me?)
I kept trying to reassure him he still looked fine, and really he did. Luckily one of the reasons Robert was so cute were his lush, long, eyelashes. He had plenty to lose.
I don’t think he talked to me for DAYS.
Would you believe he stayed friends with me after that episode?
He remains a nearest and dearest.
We were lucky enough to survive some hormonal romantic experimentation and come out of the whole thing still close friends.
I am also lucky enough to realize how incredibly rare this is.
He is special to me. I am special to him.
And besides, he got me back every damn day of summer camp until the end of our years of attendance.
When I arrived early to the theater every morning (I like to be extra early..did you know that about me?) he would already be there.
He would wait in the pitch darkness of the Balch Arena.
Barely breathing in the cool, sweet, air conditioned air.
Then he would jump out of his hiding place and never fail to make me scream.
It was our game.
And in a way, I suspect it was my payback for raping his beautiful eyelashes.