I’ve written about my “Summer friends” Lucy & Ethel before, but I never talked about their cousin Chip, except for maybe once - and it was in passing, not in detail..
I met Chip the summer before I entered 6th grade. Chip was blond and blue eyed (which ironically is not my normal MO) and he was my age exactly.
He and his sister came to spend three weeks with his cousins and we played every single day together. We’d go to the beach all day and then come home and play flashlight tag all night.
Chip made me laugh and smile and he was the reason I started wearing my sister’s LipSmackers lip gloss outside my house - even though up until now, I've never actually admitted that.
My friends kept saying that Chip had a crush on me and that I had a crush on him and whenever they said that, my face would turn about 6 shades and I’d deny it.
Sure Chip always grabbed me an ice cold diet pepsi out of the fridge when I came over his cousins house and he always sat next to me on the couch when we watched videos. And he and I always went swimming in the ocean together.
And for some reason Chip always ordered a Cherry Popsicle just like I did ( because it was the only ice cream on the beach I was allowed to get from the IceCream Man) and then we’d eat it our popsicles in the hot sand and talk about life. And yes, we’d both leave the beach every day at 4pm to go back to his aunt’s house to watch reruns of Batman & Robin together - but that didn’t mean that we liked each other.
I mean of course we liked each other - but you know what I mean.
Chip would always sit with me when when I felt low and would wait patiently until I felt better. And for some strange reason, Chip thought that me having take insulin was cool.
Chip: SO you have to take a shot every time you eat?
Me: Well, just at at breakfast and dinner - Or when my readings are really HIGH.
Chip: Does it hurt?
Chip: But you totally have to because if you don’t you’d die, right?
Me; Yeah, I totally have to because I’d die if I didn’t.
Chip: That’s cool.
Me: You think taking shots is cool?
Chip: Well, I know it stinks and everything - But it’s totally brave..... And I’m glad you know.. you're not dead!
Me: Yeah, me too.
Chip: Yeah, so it’s cool that you’re alive.
Me: Yeah, it totally is!
Anyway,the night before Chip left we were playing Flashlight Tag combined with Hide-N-Seek with with the other neighborhood kids and we decided to work in tandem and hide from the others. We jumped the fence that divided our friend's back yard with the neighbor from around the corner and hid in the out door shower stall.
SIDEBAR: Growing up at the beach meant that most houses (and regardless of the size, or lack of) came equipped with an outdoor shower stall so that no sand was ever tracked into the house. Also, outdoor showers are cool because you can shower and look up at the stars at the same time.
Anyway, we huddled together and hid in the stall and stared at one another for what seemed like hours - but it was only minutes.
Chip: I leave tomorrow.
Me: I know - It’s gonna be boring without you.
Chip: Yeah, it’s going to be boring at home without you too.
Me: Who am I gonna watch Batman with?
Chip: I don’t know.
And then we didn’t say anything. We just looked at one another...... And then he kissed me quick on the lips and I was shocked. So shocked that I immediately kissed him back. And then we heard his Uncle yelling for us.
Kelly and Chip where are you guys??? It’s time to go in!
Chip: You run out from the right side of the fence first and I’ll run out from the other side like a minute after.
So I did. And stammered that I’d hiding between the houses and didn’t know where Chip was.
Chip followed with an excuse that was almost as lame as mine and we all walked home.
The next morning Chip and his family loaded up their station wagon and all the kids in the neighborhood said goodbye.
Neither one of us wanted to blow our cover so we kept it short and sweet.
Chip: Bye Kel.
Me: Bye Chip.
And that was that, and then Chip and his family drove off to Pennsylvania and I never saw him again.
Ethel: What are you going to do without your boyfriend?
Me: You're nuts!
Ethel: Whatever - You guys are in L-O-V-E.
Me: You’re C-R-A-Z-Y.
Why I am I writing this? Because the whole Summer of Chip thing showed me that Diabetes didn’t make me off limits to boys like Chip - And that's a pretty important lesson to learn the summer before you go into middle school.