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  • There are a few dances with desire that make middle school awkwardly magical. Your first kiss, a game of spin-the-bottle, a love note, your first dance, and this:

    I don’t remember her name. I just know she looked 17, was freckled, rode my bus, talked dirty, carried a big brown leather purse, and she liked boys. All boys. Even quiet, less popular boys like me. She didn’t play favorites. She’d talk to any of us, smack any of us, and uh, dare any of us.

    Out of the blue, she’d force her way into the seat in front of me. Then, without any reservation, she’d reach around and place her hand on my knee, look me dead in the eyes, and whisper “Chicken?" Stunned quietness would be taken as a no, and then the game would proceed at three-second intervals. “Chicken?" She'd slide her hand an inch. I never knew whether to keep my eyes on hers or watch her hand. “Chicken?” So on and so on she'd go, smiling a little more slyly each time. I would always manage to eek out “Ch-ch-chicken” before she touched my junk. She’d simply giggle and say “I knew you were."

    Then she’d playfully move on to another seat and another conversation—like it never happened—leaving me in the spell of her dirty girl magic.
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