The best night of my life was a night that, on moral terms, should not have occurred at all. 

As is the case for most of these types of things, I had every single ingredient one could possibly imagine for a so-wrong-yet-so-right kind of endeavor: an empty space with no witnesses, a quietness about the night which covered all, and, most importantly, a partner-in-crime. No, I did not murder anybody this night. Shocking, I know. Let’s begin. 

This all occurred in an empty space with no witnesses. Or so I’d like to think, anyway, given that not a single threat or blackmail came out of the event. The setting was obscure, to say the least: a dimly lit playground only illuminated by short, yellow light posts on the opposite sides of the circular area which encompassed the playground. These lights barely filtered through the tall plants and bushes stringing along the place, solely giving enough light to see shifting shadows.

The quietness about the night covered all. Maybe it was midnight, or three hours past, but we didn’t detect a single ounce of commotion. Given we were sober, I trust our senses on this prospect. The moon was the brightest light, and even it strained to reach across the linen pseudo-roof propped atop tall metal poles which I guess were designed to somewhat lessen the blow of rain on the slides and swings and merry-go-rounds (when it did rain, that is).   

Then came my partner-in-crime. This is a dangerously ambiguous term because that night, my partner-in-crime could only be accurately labeled as such; he’d crossed the line between best friend and lover back and forth so many times that I’d lost track. Thus, that night, for the sake of simplicity that eludes basically the entirety of the circumstances themselves, he was my partner-in-crime. 

Ah, but how could I forget about the deed itself? 

Mr. Partner-in-Crime (whom we’ll call “Marcus”) and myself had just been shooting the breeze that night, chatting it up as best friends do. But it was impossible to not notice the subtext which shook the ground beneath our feet and the tense overtones hanging over us like ornate decorations on a busy street on Christmas Eve. Every joke cracked had a thick what am I to you? splattered across it in red letters, and every genuine laugh vibrated with a desperate everything, you’re everything I want sprinkled on it.

It was just one of those friendships. 

“It just wouldn’t be fair to you.” I watched myself saying this as we stood atop the small stairs leading up to a big yellow slide. 

“I understand,” came the calm, pained reply. My eyes opened as Marcus materialized before me, all soft looks and slow-paced breaths, steadily directing his look into my very soul. 

“It also obviously wouldn’t be fair to…” Him. I don’t think either of us wanted to say the name. It was a cursed name which we knew we could not bring into the haven we’d made for ourselves under any circumstances, in this desolate park as the moon ever so loyally hid us from the world. None of that existed in here; thus, it would be incongruous to mention. 

But Marcus was frustrated. “Oh, come on, Ronnie, do you really think you guys are going to get married? No. High school relationships aren’t meant to last.”

Part of me knew I should have had the conviction to deny Marcus’s statement, to get angry and ask him who the hell he thought he was, to reaffirm that the opposite of what he said was true. Yet... I drilled my gaze self-consciously into my feet and mumbled a halfhearted “I guess so.” 

He must’ve known I was somewhat put off by this, because he took a more sympathetic approach and told me that it was normal, that it shouldn’t get me down. I looked up at him, expectantly. 

“Look, Ronnie, I…”

“I know.”

“Do you?” 

I allowed the silence to speak for me and maintained fixated on my bare feet as they swayed, shifting my hands from one handlebar to the next. I heard nothing but the very, very loud beat of my heart and the resonating drumming of Marcus’s.

“Just find yourself a husband—or wife, I dunno—that is super hot and loves you to hell and back and makes you extremely happy every day, okay?” 

Startled, I raised an eyebrow and looked back up at him. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I just want you to be happy.” With me, right? That’s where he must’ve trailed off. Must’ve. Must’ve.

Reaching across to meet him on the other side of the small platform, I leaned against him and slowly slid my arms across his figure, burying my face in the warmth of his chest and heaving a deep sigh. “Thank you.” 

We then lowered ourselves from the platform and switched to the other end of the park, about five meters over, which contained a larger structure composed of a spiraling dark staircase which, at its end, gave way to the tallest slide in the park. The platform adjacent to it was covered from all sides, and no one walking across the park would have been able to see us hiding within its myriad of messy red bars and tubes. 

“Hopefully this time we don’t get 1984’d,” Marcus said, echoing my previous coinage referring to every time one of our nightly meetups was so rudely interrupted by some lone fellow pretending he was an authority figure to bust us. Why, what’s the harm in two teenagers going on a stroll in the middle of the night? Get your mind outta the gutter. 

“Heh, yeah,” I replied, “Orwell nailed it, I tell you.”

“Imagine we could just, go to a lake somewhere, and—”

“That sounds like too good of a setup for us to get killed by some axe murderer, no thanks.” 

As per usual with our conversations, we laughed. At one point, the back-and-forth ramblings became meaningless, and we only spoke with our eyes, infused with longing and doused in frustration. A best friend who makes you feel this way isn’t just a best friend. 


“He’s always going on and on about how he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

“Which is totally stupid, because we all know he probably owns a body pillow and just hasn’t told any of us yet.” 

It was easy enough to get back into our swing of things, easy enough to forget as we sat cross-legged across from each other, our feet an inch apart, that there were boundaries. 

He looked up and straightened his back against the tunnel which gave way into the slide. “Ronnie?”

Curious, heart racing, I clung onto his every word. “Yeah?”

“You know how I feel, right?”

Way to knock the wind out of me. “Marcus, I…”

In the way that a difficult math problem at the end of an exam suddenly makes complete sense thirty seconds before the bell rings, the way one rushes to the gate at the airport five minutes before boarding time closes, the way one comes up with the perfect comeback to a snarky remark during the pivotal moment when the subject is about to change—just one minute, according to my watch, before Marcus had to go, I made the best worst decision of my entire life. 

I got on my knees, licked my lips, leaned across the platform with my hands on his legs, and, closing my eyes, pressed my mouth to his. 

Perhaps it was the allure of a forbidden romance that drove me, or the certainty that it was a pinnacle moment which would keep either of us from being bored for quite a while, or perhaps I was in love with him as I knew he was with me, or perhaps it was simply because I could. Regardless, what I know for certain is that the softness of his lips, the thrill that coursed through my veins, was unparalleled to any description I’d ever read. 

“That felt right, didn’t it?” 

“Yeah,” Marcus replied, sounding as breathless as I felt, “it did.”

So, like a fool, I leaned in for another. And another. And another, until the kisses melted messily into what one could call a pseudo-makeout, without going into much detail. He apologized for the choppiness of it in between kisses, stating that he wasn’t used to leaning left, which I assured was fine between my share of kisses.

The notion of time rightfully chose to douse me in ice water before I got even more carried away than I already had, and I led myself and an equally starstruck Marcus down the stairs of the playground’s red structure into the narrow pathway connecting the place with the parking lot. Marcus halted as we entered and turned back to me. 

“Hey, Ronnie,” he began. Before I could answer, he’d taken both my hands and pressed them against the fence, tilting his head left—yes!—and roughly locking his lips with mine. What left a print on my memory about that particular kiss wasn’t the act itself but two other components: the fact that he’d initiated it, which sent waves of victory swimming across my psyche, and the way he looked, the dim light dancing on his face just perfectly, his eyes open and alive and loving, so full of love and sheer passion, embodying irresistibility. Or maybe it was the fact that this was my very first “wall kiss,” of which I’d forever been daydreaming. Either way, it was my turn to be rendered speechless, and we walked the rest of the way through the parking lot in silence. It was the loudest silence I’d ever experienced, with neurons flashing and the air crackling with electricity and the swift melody of tango playing vivaciously in the back of my head. Maybe we held hands, or maybe my memory fails, but our souls were certainly intertwined. 

The best night of my life was a night that, in the grand scheme of things, was too good to regret.

By Claudine Urdaneta