Something at First Sight

At the end of the major street that split the subdivision, was a lake.  Next to the lake, were ball parks, a playground with picnic areas, a golf course and a sailing club.  When school was out, ball was on.  So, being healthy 15 and 16 year-old girls, we climbed in Mikayla’s massive family wagon (In my new color block top that had the tie on the side.) and headed down to the ball park.

All the usual suspects were there.  And someone new to me.

He was taking our dollar at the gate and selling the cokes.  Red hair, exceptional medium build.  Eyes.  Eyes forever. My heart still squeezes.

We hadn’t even been seated in the bleachers for five minutes, when someone told Mikayla he wanted to talk to me.

Being so young and so unused to that kind of attention, I didn’t leap right up and run over.

The game had barely gotten underway, but Mikayla was soooooo boy-crazy, she wouldn’t even leave me alone.  So it was get up the nerve or be gnawed to death by Mik, I had my choice.  I went with getting up and walking over there.

I went to the concession stand and waited quietly; while a BUNCH of our friends bought candy, interspersed with people who weren’t nosy; they wanted a snack.

Then some people came and needed to pay their dollars to get in.

Then he had to go unlock something.

Finally, he was free to chat a bit.

I stood there in the shade of the concession stand.  Our eyes met and held.  It felt promise-y and comfortable as broken in jeans.  Not silly or self-conscious.  Seen.

We’d barely started to talk, when Mikayla had to leave.

When we got in the car, she jabbered away in her usual style.  Completely unaware.  You didn’t tell her anything remotely confidential.

His family was moving.

That week.

I guess they must have.

That was 1982.

 

 

 

For Once It’s About Me{me}!

Lady Jennie @ A Lady in France was so gracious as to invite readers to join her in answering the questions she wanted the answers to.    Because I worship her from afar, literally  am the laziest stalker ever like her so much, I am joining up.

1. What’s your guilty pleasure? You know what I mean? What do you do that you know is probably not the wisest thing for you but you can’t seem to help yourself?

It’s coffee, I could almost cut and paste Lady Jennie’s answer to this question.  Though, her cup is prettier than mine.  I have cut back so seriously, since August, that my kids have noticed I’m nicer.  And commented.  Dang.

less attractive vessel for drinking

2. Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? If so, how?

No. {See number one}.

The habits that I’ve broken don’t seem that bad.  And the bad ones won’t break.  Or I don’t care enough, yet. (I hate blogging.  It’s like a freaking mirror on my heart and motives.) [I really love it.  I just say a lot of mean things.]

3. What’s your first memory?

Looking out the window of the farmhouse to the dirt road.  I don’t know how young I was, but just tall enough to look out the window.  Probably could place my chin on the sill.  It was late fall or winter.  The sky was gray.  The road was red.  The wind was blowing.  It was in Oklahoma, of course, the wind was blowing.  It was beautiful to me.

4. Have you ever had an experience with a ghost?

I’d like to think so.  We’ve had a few poltergeist type things happen in this house.  They’ve always preceded emotional cataclysm with the twins.  Which is what poltergeists love.  Remove the emotional charge, remove the activity.

One time, my husband, son, and I were in the back of the house, and we heard a knock on the door at about 7:00 a.m. I went to the door because I was dressed and the others were still bedhead.  There was no one there.  No one in the street.  No one along the sidewalk.  It had been an assertive and unmistakable knock.

Another time, the family was moving around the house doing their own chores.  At one point, one of my daughters and I stopped in the living room at the same time.  Movement caught our eye and we looked up.  The living room fixture was spinning lazily.  Back and forth.  This fixture has been hanging since 1920.  It doesn’t move when both powerfully strong girls are dancing in the very room.

During a really horrible time…before I knew what was going on, our house was surrounded by cats.  Wailing, howling, spraying, screeching.  Day and night.  Nights were especially horrible.  Neighbors speculated that a feral colony was migrating.  Whatever.  They were aggressively inhabiting our porch and storage area and it was nearly impossible to sleep.  This lasted a couple of weeks.  Animal control would bring me a trap when they had one free– in about six weeks.  One night, tucking my daughter in bed, I looked at her face and for a flash thought, “She’s dying.”  My baby was transfigured into a macabre visage.  In two more days, a dark secret was exposed to the light.  The cats were gone that day and never returned.

5. Have you ever had a significant dream? One that came true, or one that meant something to you?

No, my husband has the significant dreams.  I interpret.

My grandmother often dreamed of a house– large and empty, not a home.  I’ve had a house dream a couple of times.

Mostly, my perception stuff happens in waking.  I frequently awake at exactly 5:22.  It started when the girls were 3 years-old.  In the last few years, I note the time in the evening at that time, as well.  I’m hoping one day to know why.  I have a friend who has the same thing at a different time.

6. What’s your most embarrassingly funny memory, and if you dare, your embarrassingly embarrassing memory?

Weird…I have a fart story, too.  I was standing in the store that sells baseball caps.  Paying for a cap for my husband.  The clerk and his buddy, who was “hanging-out-in-the-cap-store-at-the-mall-because-he-was-a-winner-that’s-why”, were standing there, and while the guy prcoessed my check there rose around me a stink such as the world had not known.  If evil has a funk, this was it.  Grease and Sin.  I gagged.  I made eye contact.  They froze.  Perhaps they didn’t yet know whether their buddy had served it up.  Never ever in my life before or since have I delivered one that bad.

That’s copying, though.  When I was a junior in high school, I fell asleep in U.S. History.  I drooled on my desk.  When I awoke, I was lying in a puddle the size of the desktop.  My hair was wet and my arms and body were keeping it from DRIPPING OFF THE DESK.  I couldn’t move until class ended, in order to keep others from seeing it.  I have no memory of how it was resolved.  I vaguely remember telling the teacher.

7. Alright moving on to more distinguished topics. Favorite book. Why is it your favorite?

I hate this question.  I am like the little boy who was an optimist…when he there was only a heap of manure under the tree on Christmas morning, he leaped upon it and started digging.  When someone asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Pile of shit poopie this big?  Gotta be a pony in here somewhere!!!”

I can never remember the book that held me by the heart in shock that I was finished and it was over.  Because I didn’t just dig through…I closely examined a lot of individual… [lightheaded; head between knees] turds.

Books that have made me sob:  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls;  Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Eliot;

8. Last question – most romantic. At what precise moment did you know your spouse/partner was “the one?”

Looking back, I think the first moment I saw him was a sign.  I’m not saying a shaft of light came out of heaven and the angels sang, but there was definitely a jolt. I didn’t believe in that kind of nonsense and didn’t see him for some time, but he called me once just to see how I was doing. Another six months passed before I saw him on my way out of town and he asked me out.

I’m sure Lady Jennie would be delighted for you to stop by and participate as well.

 

Halloween

She knew she had to work hard.  Not just any freshman was going to be able to hang with that crowd or keep Mike Mathis as a boyfriend unless she showed she belonged there.

Mom was gone to a work function and dad was…  Well, who cared where he was?  His new wife must care.  In his new life.  On the other side of the continent.  By the time Mom got home, she would have changed buses and might just be stepping off at the stop before Cannington Enclave, where the domestics would be stepping on.

She smeared her 14 year-old lips Cherry red. Deep black liner and accidentally perfect purple shadow formed the backdrop for false eyelashes. The hair she couldn’t appreciate shined perfectly, tragically, black, and down to her shoulder blades.  A tight black blouse with princess seams making curves where God had not, topped jeans that wouldn’t have been too tight when school started, but were tonight.  Because she was still growing, just a little.  There was a peaked cap and a long black cape of crushed velvet on the outside lined with satin of the darkest red.  In her black nails, she held a flat, corn broom stolen from the custodian’s closet. Her thrill, though, was the shoes.  Boots.  Laced up, pointed toe black leather in the foot, fabric in the barrel, a kitten heel gave the illusion of height without making her feel she’d fall down.  She had some walking to do tonight.

A check of the mirror pleased her.  A perfectly wicked witch.

The mirror lied.  It didn’t even mention the sadness behind the smile.  Or the beautiful, impatient, woman-in-waiting.

Mike had been anxious to take their relationship to the next level. He told her he’d have to be single rather than continue to be attracted to her like he was.  They had an agreement.  If she dressed as an angel she wanted to wait.  If she dressed as a witch…  She didn’t.

In the purple dusk, cape swirling, hair flying, boots clacking on the pavement; she could have been a character in a movie.  The bus was no joke tonight.  The usual cast of down and outers was seedy. The exhausted working poor were collected in a transport bin and dozing or reading or looking at her.  For the first time, her eyes were opened.  This, was no place for a little girl.

No one knew where she was.  She was dressed to magnetize and her mother thought he drove to pick her up and he thought her mom was dropping her at the gate house.

She felt very, very “vincible”.  Visible.  It was a two-edged sword.  Wanting so desperately to be seen, then realizing you are.  Not just by whom you would like to be seen, but by whom you did not choose.  She felt sick.

There was no escape.  She could only ride it out.  Enclave was the first stop on the other side of  the long, harrow corridor of urban decay dividing the city between the exclusive suburb and the middle class midtown.

When she rose from her seat for the first Enclave stop, she noted that a man and a woman also rose.  The woman she knew from taking this route since she’d been seeing Mike.  The man, she’d never seen, but then, she wasn’t in the habit of noticing men she wasn’t aiming her powers at.

Both of them made the stop with her, yet she forgot them immediately, as she focused on the evening before her.  A Halloween party.  The biggest moment in her relationship with Mike Mathis, National Merit Scholar, President of the Chess Club.  Valedictorian.

Tonight would change everything.

At last, she could no longer miss the looks.  Appreciation from boys who were there with other girls.  Jealousy from girls who were there with other boys.  And something strange from Mike’s Mom.  It didn’t look like the friendship she’d thought they had.

Mike didn’t look at her at all.  He really didn’t speak much.  To her.  He passed out refreshments.  Made sure everyone was comfortable.  Answered the door.  Passed out candy.  He was a great host.  A great guy.

She gazed silently out the breakfast room window, through her reflection to the waterfront. The last line of deep purple light was about to disappear behind a shimmering lake.

“It won’t be long now ’til we can be alone,” came the whisper.

She hadn’t seen or felt his approach.  She lifted her eyes to the reflection of his.  Drank it in with her heart.  Trying to buoy this heaviness.

“Why don’t you walk with me to carry this bag to the can?”

“How could I possibly resist helping you serve your guests?”

An intelligent man knows when he’s been chastened.

“I wanted to show you the dock.  It’s the same way.  Bad planning by the architect.”

She raised her face to see every change in his smile.  His eyes.

“I’ve seen it in the daytime.  What more could I possibly learn in the dark?”

“It’s an entirely new experience in the dark. I promise.”

Throwing a laugh over her shoulder, she ducked for the kitchen door, her boots leaving black scuffs and her hair a flying ebony stain in the thick party air.

In a minute, the cabana on the dock was swaying unsteadily.  She could sense it in the mirror dimly reflecting the half light.

She did love him.  He was smart.  And, God, was he good-looking.

She waited.

“The reflection of the moon on the water is a result of refraction.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Our ability to see things we aren’t facing always is.”

“What?  I don’t think that’s right.”

“You know, I love you.”

“Of course, I dressed as a witch.”

“What do you mean? Glenda, the good witch?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re an angel.”

“No, I’m not.  I’m a witch.”

“Well, the wings and the halo make that a tough sell.  Not to mention the Clarence from A Wonderful Life that’s followed us everywhere all night.  Why didn’t you tell me you were bringing your uncle? Mom’s way bent.”

“Mike, You’re scaring me.  I am a witch with a broom.  Red lips, black nails.  I don’t have an uncle.”

He reached for the light and turned her shoulders to face the mirror.

 

In the mirror’s reflection, she saw herself.  A witch with terror streaming down her cheeks.

Behind Mike, through the screen she could see the man from the bus.

Who had wings.

“Mike, I am a witch.  I have no uncle. That is a man who got off the bus at the stop with me.”

“You are an angel. And I talked to him myself before he left.”

And he kissed her.

 

~Happy Halloween.  Since we don’t have a big celebration to share for #Blogtober, I hope I gave you a scare.  One way or another.~

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: