When You’ll Know by Sarah McPherson

When the raindrops shimmer under the streetlights like the little balls of mercury you poked with one finger so they skittered across the desk even though the teacher warned you not to, but you couldn’t care less what she said, or about the rain soaking your hair and your clothes now; when the fire in your belly and chest flares bright like the bundle of stolen magnesium strips your best friend set light to round the back of the science labs and you all gasped and shielded your eyes and told her she was the best, just the best; when you huddle in the bus shelter and pass a bottle of peach schnapps back and forth, eyeing each other and giggling as you swig and the sticky sweetness of it burns as you swallow and makes you feel grown up and daring; when you glue yourselves together like the leftover party balloons you rubbed on your jumpers and stuck to the wall like magic, passed over your heads like talismans, hair rising to meet the invisible force tingling in the air; when finally your lips meet and you feel the heat that has been building in both of you, an exothermic reaction that throws you off balance and changes you, deep down, into something new.

Sarah McPherson is a Sheffield-based writer and poet, with work published/forthcoming in Splonk, STORGY, Emerge Literary Journal, Fudoki Magazine, The Cabinet of Heed, and elsewhere. She has been long/shortlisted in competitions including Writers’ HQ and Reflex Fiction. She tweets as @summer_moth and blogs at theleadedwindow.blogspot.com/.

Image: unsplash.com