How We Got Along: revised
It’s early Fall, a morning streaked with overcast clouds and a slight fog just burning off into atomic form. It’s a calm morning, no wind to speak of, no whisper of wisdom to give a sign of anything to come; my favorite. It let me think freely with my head on the passenger window peering into an apparent Mobius strip; everything the same as it was before. The same action seekers soaring down the lane on their fixies, same freshie’s starting high school over-dressed, same jocks pushing around the unfortunate few (happy it wasn’t me), same stoners with the same spaced out expressions, same shit different day; I just hope something will happen. Some change of color, or brightness or transparency… whatever; a break in the strip. A change in my life, I need. What it is I’m looking for? I haven’t a clue.
Then I heard my dad shout something from the driver’s seat. His name is Bill. The guy’s got a hair trigger.
“Whoa! How is she not freezing?! Look at those shorts. Daisy dukes in October? Uh-uh.” He sighed, shaking his head like any disapproving parent. “Kids these days.”
“Wait, who?…” I said, intrigued.
I glanced to my left where he was pointing. I saw her walking across the street towards the school; beige shorts (Not actual Daisy Duke length. Not even jean material. I questioned Bill’s knowledge of The Duke Family), a white blouse underneath a navy blue pea-coat , fair skin, and a gorgeous shade of wavy brown locks slinking past her shoulders. The pure sight of this specter would make even Aphrodite stare in awe.
She carried herself effortlessly. Unlike all of the dreary faces around us, bitten by the cold, tired from a homework load they still aren’t quite accustomed to; she stood tall, unafraid of what High School meant to most teens; a veritable prison. I tell you, she could have fallen down from heaven for all I know. It raised the question; are angels real? Then of course YOU may be asking other questions like… “Is this guy insane?” “Is he on medication?”
Answer to both; technically I’m not insane, but my shrink likes to keep the visits weekly, and my medication on a strict schedule. It’s a long story, for another time.
I thought about the time I’ve spent in Sunday School learning about Heaven, Hell and the power of prayer. Those countless hours learning biblical mantras and eating Styrofoam wafers may have finally paid off. Maybe prayers do get answered once in a while. Or maybe I’ve just been shown the epitome of the female body, only to never see it again. I can’t even fathom the cruelty of that.
Apparently I was staring away slack-jawed because Bill was trying to get my attention…
“Hey, hey. earth to Gerry, come in Gerry” he snapped his fingers in front of me. My daydream interrupted.
“Um… yeah, weird. Never saw her before.” Smooth Gerry, real smooth. Bill grinned but kept driving.
My eyes traced her path. I really had no idea who she was but she couldn’t be a ghost; we both saw her and she didn’t appear to be floating in mid-air. Is God trying to tell me something? Is she some holy messenger here to lift my cursed love-life? If so, some instructions would be mighty helpful big guy! I looked to the sky.
No answer; what a damn surprise.
My dad pulled into the parking lot as the girl was walking toward the administrative office and she looked my way; we met eyes for a moment. She smiled, I felt weird. I think I smiled back. I can’t be sure. My facial movements were foreign to me in that space of time. I wanted to be sick, but at the same time I wanted to dance and sing and write mushy poetry for her.
I cowered down into my seat, lowering myself out of view; a much less frightening alternative. It was all too much; how is a teen supposed to deal with emotions he’s never felt before?! C’mon now. And are these emotions real? Or is my pecker just pinging in her direction? Bill considered this type of affection as a gateway to unplanned pregnancies and an angry baby’s mama when the papa can’t afford child-support.
Anyway, I digress.
I felt like a fool though. That is the opposite of what I need: Someone else to think I’m lame.
I took a quick peek, to see if I was in the clear. The office door was closing. I saw her figure disappear behind frosted glass; her silhouette swaying back and forth, back and forth… a lure reeling my manhood in like some weak guppy. My dreams slammed into the door as it swung shut; falling into pieces like Humpty Dumpty but with no King’s horses OR men to reassemble the mess.
“Who could she be?” I mumbled to myself; louder than intended. Only now remembering where I was. Bill’s grin had widened from ear-to-ear.
“Well little man, it looks like you’ll have all day to find out. Now, get out of my car and learn something useful. Women don’t appreciate a dumbass. Just ask your mother, I’ve been trying to get her to appreciate me for fifteen years.”
“Yeah, thanks pops. I’ll see you later. Good luck with Mom.” I gave my eyes a nice roll. Appropriate sarcasm requires appropriate sarcastic gestures: It’s just a fact of life.
“Hey now! Don’t get sore on me. I say that with love little man. Just tryin’ to wake y’up”
He smiled one of his ‘lighten up little-man’ smiles. I tried to copy and paste the expression. I probably just looked sick.
I got out of the car and glanced around like a frightened Prairie Dog just in case the specter-girl materialized behind me. She already came out of left-field once.
I was in the clear.
My dad tooted the horn as he drove his puke green (he claims it’s British racing green) ’78 Mini out of the parking lot. It drew a few snickering faces my way, a greeting almost: welcome back to high school Gerry, only three years left.
I walked on…