There it was on the left side, mid-neck. Not the sort of thing I could hide during long jump season when I spent much of my time in a track uniform and a ponytail. Thankfully it was a little chilly that Saturday in Pine Island, so I stripped down only long enough to compete then returned to something damn close to snowmobile suit level in its hickey-hiding potential.
Some of my teammates who were more seasoned in the dueling arts of Having a Hickey and Having Parents assured me that mine was barely noticeable and I shouldn't worry about it. I agreed, eventually. True enough. It could just be a scratch or a burn from the barrel of a curling iron. They told me if I combed it with a plastic comb, it would dull in intensity.
"Is that a hickey?" my mom asked me on Sunday as I waited for my boyfriend to pick me up for a day date.
"Oh my gosh, no," I said, then composed my most spontaneous, most elaborate lie ever, complete with an authentic eye roll. "Everyone was making fun of me about it on Friday. They noticed it after I came out of Mr. Z's office so they were all saying that Mr. Z gave me a hickey. ... I don't know what it's from." It was perfect. I hadn't introduced any imagery involving my boyfriend and distracted her instead with a locker room full of girls teasing me about the gym teacher, an attractive man, yes, but the unlikely source of a hickey.
It seemed to pass without question. My hickey and I were safe.
I mention this because today I saw a high school-aged kid who had been pulled over by two police cars. That kid had the most righteous hickey farm on his neck, the kind of thing that would require the suction of a Grade A vac.
Coming Clean is a series in which I confess to the various crimes and bad behaviors of my youth.