By J.J. Colagrande

03_sky-tylerSky was a freshman in high school, a recent transplant from Humboldt. She lived with her mother and younger twin brothers in the Richmond, displaced from her dad in the divorce. She attended George Washington High, the same school as Keith. For social reasons, she joined after-school groups ranging from the Equestrian Club to the Life Savor Club. The latter worked to stop the spread of smoking by teens. Keith was a senior and always fiddling with crystals. Too clumsy for sports he liked to read, a lot of New Age stuff. But he also joined clubs. During his years at Washington High, Keith dipped his toes into the Drum Corps, and the Outdoor Club. As a sophomore, he briefly joined the Articulate Creatures of the Elements, a hip-hop club consisting of kids who by definition would hang out and compose only positive rhymes, a group that a member of Hurricane Clout belonged to, Diamonds, before he moved to New York. Keith had friends at school. There were over two thousand students. Yet, for the most part he lived in his own head, at least until Sky came along. They saw each other for the first time at a meeting of the Cool Cat Campus Clean-up Crew. They locked eyes and exchanged a smile. They spoke for the first time cleaning up after a football game, a big game, Washington vs. Lincoln, the Richmond District versus the Sunrise District. After the game, on the grass lawn behind the bleachers, they both bent down for the same Kit-Kat wrapper and their heads collided. They giggled and apologized and traded names. Afterward they always greeted each other in school with a smile and a hey. One day she asked him what he played with in his pockets every time he passed her in the hallway. Keith, to her surprise, produced an amber crystal and gave it to her. He said he carried the crystal every day in his pocket for a year and now it belonged to her and it would bring her good luck. He said he knew the rock belonged to her but he had been waiting for the right time to give the gift. No boy had ever given her anything. They cultivated their bud and their flower bloomed. One day everything came together. One of those moments in life when timing and opportunity align. One of those magic minor moments when major things happened. At Sky’s house, mid-afternoon, on the couch, they were watching Heathers. Her brothers were at basketball practice. Her mom at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, a nurse in the department of Anesthesia. Sky and Keith were on the couch necking. Things steamed up quickly as they dry humped their fannies off.

“Keith, let’s go to my room.”

Keith sort of froze with a stupid look on his face. “You’re room?”

“Yeah, my room.” She said it in a dirty way.

Keith scooped her up like butter pecan ice cream; he had her in his arms, no problem. They headed towards the room. He wondered about music. Should they listen to Depeche Mode, The Cure, Tori Amos, The Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, Macy Gray, Barry White, probably Depeche Mode, he figured, People Are People was her favorite album at the time. Sky thought about candles. She wanted to light as many as she could. The door was in sight. Keith’s can04_keith-lipsiznowaz1ter switched to double-time, his mind only on her bed, ooo-ooo, little monkey thoughts. They approached the door. Then Sky’s head banged against the side of the bedroom door. They had to go to the hospital. She needed seven stitches. It wasn’t funny. It was a mess. Sky had a concussion. Keith was a total wreck. He wanted to jump off the Bay Bridge. It worked out in the end. Sky was mad at him, for awhile. She went a week without answering his calls. She even blocked his e-mail address. He made up a new account. She blocked that one too. Yet she forgave him. Not because of the poetry or chocolates or flowers or song and dance number he composed in her honor. She forgave him because of the look in his eyes. It was a sparkling powerful Almond joy of a look. They didn’t have sex until three months later in the strawberry fields. Often they’d drive down to Watsonville and hit up the Seers Strawberry Pick-and-Roll, a huge farm with fields and fields of strawberry patches. They’d have buckets and take their time finding the ripest, fattest, reddest, strawberries they could rip off the vine. They used to find such wonderful fruit, so ripe the berries were about to fall off themselves. Sometimes they would wander deep out in the fields. So far out no one could see them. All they could see was the distant storefront where you paid for the fruit and the outlines of a migrant worker or two. The fields were theirs. They made love for the first time in the strawberry fields. Under the California sun, in between rows of strawberries, those strawberry fields felt golden.

If you liked this deleted scene, check out Sky talk about a secret festival called S.A.K.E.