I’m afraid some of my readers are gonna hate me for sharing this bit.. maybe even call for my head on a platter, but here goes…Â
I came out of the bathroom just as she came to find me. Â â€œCome hereâ€, she said, grabbing my hand. Â â€œCome see the sunset.â€
She led me out to the deck that hung off the back of their house. Â The sky had already turned a deep shade of pink behind the hills in the distance. Â A swirl of cotton candy clouds were colored in reflection. Â I stood quietly and took it all in. Â I could see the sunset from my house too, but it would be dropping behind the old saw mill. Â It wouldn’t be quiet like it was here. Â My old man would be getting into his bottle, raging at the TV or something he thought one of us had done. Â There was always noise in my neighborhood, thin walls didn’t mask the sounds of the neighborâ€™s TV, or the folks yelling at each other across the street, or the sound of sex from the house where the newlyweds lived. Â In my neighborhood, you always heard way too much and pretended you heard nothing. Â Thatâ€™s how you kept out of everyoneâ€™s business at least thatâ€™s what my mom said. Â You may know the folks across the street are heading for a divorce, but you didn’t let on, that was the polite thing to do. Â Course, that didn’t explain how much my mom enjoyed sharing her auditory gleanings with the ladies who dropped off their mending for her to do.
Standing on Desireeâ€™s back porch, there was so much space and so much quiet stretching out around me, it felt like I was on another planet. Â It definitely contributed to that feeling of unrealness I was already having.
I was startled back to the here and now by a tapping on my arm.
â€œHello, earth to Buddy, earth to Buddy, come in, Buddy.â€
I turned to face her, my back to the railing. Â â€œHiâ€ I gave her a shy smile. Â I hadn’t meant to completely space out.
â€œMy mom made meatloaf, I hope you like itâ€ Â She sounded sincerely worried that I might not.
â€œI love meatloaf, Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll like itâ€ Â I lifted my head and sniffed the air. â€œSmells great.â€
She gave me a look and sniffed the air herself, â€œI donâ€™t smell anything, goofball.â€ Â Smacking me lightly in the center of the chest and I gave her a swat at her shoulder.
â€œWho you calling a goofball?â€
She reached up and mussed my hair, â€œIâ€™m calling you a goofball, goofball.â€
I grabbed her hand and tried to muss her hair, but she dodged me and gave me a punch on the shoulder and then it was a flurry of playful punches and jabs. Â We were laughing and landing playful insults along with the pokes and smacks. Â Finally, I lost it and snorted which resulted in peals of laughter from her. Â She tried to sneak in a poke at my ribs, which she knew by then were ticklish, but I grabbed her arm and pulled her into a hold, intent on giving her a noogie, which is what I would have done with my little sister in that situation. Â But this wasn’t my little sister, this was Desiree LaConner, the subject of many nights of feverish fantasizing and ardent rub-outs. Â And I was holding her against my body, though not in the way Iâ€™d envisioned. Â We froze for a second, both of us seeming to realize in the same instant that this had tipped over from something playful and jesting into something.. else. Â Then she relaxed against me and wrapped one arm around my waist, looking up at me expectantly.
â€œWell, now that you’ve got me here, whatcha gonna do about it, huh, Buddy?â€
I knew exactly what I wanted to do and in a moment that teetered between blind panic and deep, lizard brain instinct, I began to lean toward her lips. She sighed, settling against me even more, pulling my hips against hers, eyes half closed.
And thatâ€™s when her mom called us in for dinner.
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