Chapter 10: Different Brains

Eddy sat up like he'd been shot. "What did you say?"

I felt my face turn red, and I was glad it was too dark for Eddy to see.

"I said girls are like stars."

Eddy pushed his face up to mine.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Uh, I guess I mean girls are mysterious."

Eddy gave me a shove.

"You OK?"

I tried to think of something to say. I didn't dare mention Minerva.

"What about Luann Ellis?" I stammered. "Don't you think she's kind of ... you know ... "

"Kind of what?"

Cripes! I wished I hadn't started this. "I don't know," I said.

"I think she's kind of a gomer."

"Yeah, maybe. But don't you ever wonder about girls?"

"Yeah, I wonder who needs 'em."

"Seriously, don't you wonder how come they're so different?"

"They have different brains, that's all," Eddy said.

"What do you mean by that?"

"They're like cats."

"Cats?"

"Yeah, you can look at a cat for hours, for years even, you can look a cat right in the eye, and still you'll never know what it's thinking," Eddy said.

"Haven't you ever wondered what it would be like to kiss one?"

"A cat?"

I cracked up. "No, a girl."

Eddy rolled over and made barfing noises at the ground. "Ptooie! I had to kiss my cousin once. I thought I would puke."

"But what was it like?"

"How should I know? I was too busy trying not to ralph."

"But don't you remember?"

"You know what it was like? It was like taking a big, slimy slug and rubbing it on your lips."

We burst out laughing. We laughed and laughed and rolled around, me giggling and Eddy going "Heeah! Snort! HEEAH!" with that donkey laugh of his.

"No, wait," Eddy said when he caught his breath. "It was like smearing a 3-day-old dead clam all over your face."

And we laughed until we couldn't laugh anymore.

We lay there sighing and giggling. And then we grew still, just listening to the rustling of the trees in the night.

I heard Eddy's breathing grow slow and regular, and this time I knew Eddy was really asleep.

I looked over at his face in the starlight. His face was like a backwards map of the sky, all those freckles like dark stars.

Eddy was the best, I thought. He was the brother I never had.

I wondered if he ever felt that way about me.

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