After Anna’s idea of jumping on Luke’s trampoline it was hard to separate us from Luke’s side the rest of the summer. We would all ride our bikes around the neighborhood, go swimming in the river, and of course jump on the Luke’s trampoline. Anna and I thought our three-way relationship was golden. Never really wondering how Luke felt about the arrangement. Never really questioning whether he saw us as his girlfriends or even if he liked one of us over the other. I mean yes, sometimes I caught myself wondering if he actually liked us at all. It was brief thoughts. I would remind myself that he would be stupid not to like us both. At the time I thought everything was so black and white, so easy. We were too young to have sexual tension. There was no hand holding or kissing. We were like three best friends. Two of which were continually planning to one day wed the third, but it was innocent.
One day in July, we all decided to go see a Titanic together. I had been dying to see it because of obvious “LEO” reasons. It was our first real date with Luke and unfortunately my dad was the only free parent to drive us. We agreed to meet at my house at 5:00 pm. At 4:45 there was a knock at my front door. It was Luke, early. After a moment of freaking out, I let him in. Until that day, Anna and I had followed our “no hanging out alone with Luke” rule. I was too nervous to remember my own name, let alone the rules to our friendship. Luke had never been inside of my house before, so I showed him around. Since we had some time before my dad or Anna would be there, we sat and listened to music on my bed. It was going pretty well. I was actually carrying on a conversation with the boy of my dreams without Anna as my safety net. He started to tease me about my large stuffed animal collection, which somehow turned into a wrestling match. It was mostly innocent.
My dad had a hard time deciphering the situation when he walked in on me sitting on top of Luke, his hands pinned to his chest. Surprisingly he didn’t freak out; he nervously asked if we were ready to go. A couple of minutes later, Anna rang the doorbell and our date officially started.
I never told Anna about my alone time with Luke. I did however get a talking to by my parents about being alone with boys in my room. At the time, I didn’t understand it. I mean, yes, if we had been alone any longer maybe Luke would have tried to kiss me. My intentions, however, were strictly innocent. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything with a boy until was I in eighth grade. Even then it made me extremely nervous to think about. After our date, things slowed down in our three-way relationship.
It was a week before school started when things were getting weird. I hadn’t seen Luke or Anna in almost two weeks. Every time I tried to call Anna she said she was doing something with her parents or she was grounded for some stupid reason. She was always the one that would call Luke, so there was no way I was going to do it without her. One day I decided to ride my bike to her house. I figured if she didn’t want to hang out she could tell me why in person. As a rode past Luke’s house, my heart sank. There was Anna, her long blonde hair bouncing in the air on Luke’s trampoline. They were both jumping and laughing, without me. I froze and just stared. I didn’t understand why they hadn’t called me. I didn’t understand why she was breaking our rule. I didn’t understand anything at that point. As I stood there wishing I could be anywhere else, Anna caught my gaze. I peddled as fast I could as tears ran down my face. No one called. No one followed me. I was alone.
That Friday, my brother was starting in the first football game of the season. Friday night football games in my small town were pretty much the only thing on the social calendar. I knew that Anna and probably Luke would be there, along with the rest of the town. My parents dragged me to see my brother. My mother reminded me that it would be good to see some of my other friends. Friends that I had neglected to see the whole summer. Luckily when I reached my small group of friends, Anna was nowhere to be found. They were all chattering about who changed the most over the summer and who was dating who. I wasn’t really listening until I heard, “Did you hear? Anna and Luke are like together, TOGETHER. Can you believe it? Random.” Knowing that information didn’t hurt as much as seeing them together on the trampoline earlier that week. The last couple of days I tried to make sense of the whole situation. I realized then, they didn’t want me around because they wanted a real two-way relationship (as real as a seventh grade relationship could get). It became all too real when I saw them across the stands, holding hands while talking to a group of Luke’s friends. Anna didn’t talk to me that night.
In the end their “relationship” lasted less than a month. Anna never apologized for breaking the rule, but we became friends again anyway. As for Luke, well, after the whole situation my affections grew smaller for him. I moved on by finding new unrequited crushes (some more heartbreakingly awkward). Every once and a while he would nod my way and I would remember the summer we all had together. But junior high was a cruel place that separated the awkward kids from the cool kids. Eventually Anna and I became invisible to cool kids like Luke. Sometimes I wondered what would have happened if our three-way relationship would have worked out. Would he have acknowledged us at school? Or was it doomed from the start? All I know is that we would always have the creaky sound of Luke’s trampoline.