There are few things in this world that I could find comfort in during my childhood; especially after the incident of April 19th, but at the age of thirteen a game of Paintball with Craig and a couple of my buddies was always a real good treat.
It was a nice September evening where the clouds were amassed in the sky like an audience to the setting sun, I was singing a song off of Green Day's Dookie album by the name of "Pulling Teeth". Craig was harassing Steven to come out while the rest of us stood out on the sidewalk all geared up for some good mock-warfare. Within a few minutes Steven gave in and walked out of his house, a gun over his shoulder and his body camouflaged like soldiers in Vietnam movies.
"Hey! Joseph!" I heard a girl's voice call out behind me, my buddies and I turned to see Isabelle, "Joseph, your dad told me you guys were going out to play paintball and I was wondering if I could come."
Isabelle was this girl who'd hit puberty in fifth grade, she had chestnut hair and hazel eyes and the most luscious lips I'd ever seen, the lightest way to put it would be that I had a huge hard on for this girl.
I stammered a little bit, "Uh--"
Craig smirked playfully, he of course knew, "Sure, but you gotta be on Joseph's team. He's got an extra gun; and you can borrow Steven's extra mask."
I was annoyed, Craig was purposely doing this to me, but I went with it as Isabelle's face lit right up and I handed her my little paintball pistol and she took it with gusto.
"I can't wait to show these bastards what we've got!" she piped loudly, all the boys alarmed at the enthusiasm from the girl (including myself).
We walked about a mile, towards the woods at the edge of town where we'd setup our little fort next to a tree; it'd gotten far darker out, it was a very dusky colour as the sky became a deep blue. Isabelle and I had talked the entire way, Craig teased me with glances that only a best friend could understand, Steven and the other boys smoked some cigarettes as they adjusted their guns and even had the bravado to shoot one of the dogs on our way there. When we'd reached our destinations Craig stood up on top of one of the rocks next to our fort and divided us into a few teams, it was teams of two. So of course Isabelle and I were on one team and the others were split up. The goal of the game was to be the last team standing, and there were boundaries to our battlefield that we'd marked with some police tape Craig had stolen from his uncle.
"Game starts in twenty minutes! Lock and load you young ass mother fuckers!" Craig jeered loudly and with the force of a true military soldier as he made his way off into the woods, gun in hand.
We scattered off in all directions, Isabelle tailed close behind as we clogged deeper and deeper into the woods, she'd tripped at one point and I'd helped her up, we both laughed a little as we continued on into the woods. When we came to "The Old Man's Oak", a name Craig and I gave it from an old imagination game we played as children, we stopped for a breather, there was a shout off in the distance that meant someone was either out or people were being idiots.
"So now what do we do?" she blinked as I turned to her.
Thinking about typical strategies Craig used, and how he and Steven usually won when they teamed up I began to plan. I slung my rifle over my shoulder and nodded at the tree, "We climb this fucker and we wait for people to come find us, Craig plays aggressively and Steven might be the best player, so our best bet would be to surprise him."
Isabelle smiled at me and said, "Sir, yes sir!" then with a little salute and a holstering of her weapon she methodically made her way up the tree.
She was surprisingly quick about it, she didn't appear to make one mistake which was contrary to myself whom struggled slightly as I got higher up the tree. At about fifteen feet above the ground my hand slipped and I just about fell until Isabelle reached out and grabbed my arm and helped hoist me up to our sniping position.
I un-slung my rifle and hooked it onto a branch next to us, then I grabbed my set of binoculars and used them to scan over the area, there was no sign of movement; and I knew as it grew darker my seeing-glasses wouldn't do shit.
"How long do we wait?" her voice whispered next to me.
I was slightly startled and almost blushing as I realised she was pressed up against me, how fortunately unfortunate that the girl I had a massive crush on was leaning right up against me, fifteen feet up off the ground and kissing me?
It was as I turned my head for a response, she'd moved her face in onto mine, her lips silken and warm, plump and red and right on mine. I was confused but I went with it, when all of the sudden I heard something snap from down below us. I pulled away sadly and reluctantly and grabbed my rifle, aiming it where the sound came from and fired.
"SONOFABITCH!" Jack, one of the players rolled out of some bushes clutching his neck in pain, I watched the orange paint flow down the side of his neck, "Good shot asshole." He glanced at me and winked a little as he stalked off slowly in another direction, rifle above his head.
"You are amazing!" Isabelle squealed happily and hugged me, kissing me on the cheek.
I felt my face flush red, my body tingled awkwardly, I didn't know how to respond; as soon as I mustered the courage to lean in and kiss her back, my rifle slipped from my grasp and clattered to the ground below.
"Gotcha!" I heard Steven's voice followed by two loud T-paks! as a sudden sharp pain struck the back of my head and her arm.
The game was over, of course Steven and Craig won, completely unscathed. But it didn't matter to me, as we were about to climb down from the tree I got a peck on the lips and a smirk. I also fondly recall walking home with her hand in mine; a trophy of my loss, and the fruits of my gain.