27 July 2011

Magpie Tales 75: Dog Star

 Image courtesy of Tess at Magpie Tales

I rode often as a youth.  Cycling was a favored pastime, as I was of bookish bent and kept frequently to myself.  My playtime and the playtime of the other children in the neighborhood fell out of sync.   I guess you could say our gears did not mesh.  This loner tendency arose not from a innate misanthropism; rather, my mind was comfortable plumbing the depths of thought.  Other people, while pleasant enough, were overly distracting.  Especially Cheryl Goodhope.  She of the buxom physique and laugh like a distant bell.  I rode my bike past her house almost every day that summer of our coming of age.  Hopeful to catch a glimpse, I rarely did. 

When I did see her it was farcical the way I tried to avoid giving the impression that I actually was trying to see her.  Glimpses from the corner of my eyes, zig-zagging like a drunk rickshaw driver down the middle of the street.  It was a small miracle I only crashed once, and that straight into the bumper of Mr. Janson's beat-up old Mazda, parked across from Cheryl's house.  Just my luck, that was the day she was in the front yard, helping her mother plant pansies along the fence.  I remember she was wearing a halter top and shorts that day.  I reckon it was the sight of her leaning over the fence what caused me to crash.  I was a sucker for curvy girls then.  Not much as changed, I guess.

Anyway, it was while I was extricating myself from Janson's bumper, hoping the earth would swallow me, that Cheryl and her mom rushed over to me, asking me if I was okay.  At least, I think that is what they were saying.  Looking at Cheryl, right next to me, I felt cold and hot and shivery all at once.  Her blond hair was pulled back in a bun, the sun a corona around that cute face.  Their lips were moving but all I could hear was a "wahwahwah" sound.  I stood still and gaping like a beached fish.  I stammered something about it was just a scrape, no broken bones, no blood, I'm okay, Mrs. Goodhope, really...

Once they assured themselves I was fine,  I hightailed it out of there as quick as possible.  Later, my dad made me tell Mr. Janson about his car.  I ended up cutting his grass for free the rest of that summer to make up for scratching his car.  Don't know why it mattered, that thing was a rolling turd, but I never told Mr. Janson that.  I had enough trouble in my life.

After that, things changed between Cheryl and I.  More often than not, I would peddle past her house, and she would be there staring back at me.  I got to look less at her, because she would have seen me staring for sure.  Of course, it didn't occur to my addled hormonal brain that she already knew I had been sneaking looks at her.  I found that out in late August, when my parents and I were invited over to the Goodhopes' for a backyard cookout.  Cheryl kissed me then and the universe as I knew it was forever altered.

It was later in the evening, after our bellies were full of hot dogs and corn on the cob.  The adults and the kids had split into their respective clans, but Cheryl and I were the two oldest kids; we both had a dislike for hide and seek, which the younger ones insisted on playing.  Cheryl and I opted for popsicles and sitting on the wooden swing at the far end of the yard.  It was darker away from the porch light.  The stars were coming out as the sky turned indigo into purple-black into black. 

Cheryl and I talked, and the more we talked, the more we slid closer together.  I could feel the heat radiating off of her skin.  She smelled like grill smoke and sweet coconut.  I was intoxicated.  We began to say less and less, and our hands slid together like soft magnets.  My heart was racing.  I was so flustered I looked away from her, desperately trying to think of something to say.  The first thing that popped into my head was some banal comment about Sirius being the brightest star in the sky, I was babbling about it and when I turned my head back to face her, she leaned in and kissed me on the lips.

I almost recoiled in shock.  She had a hand on the back of my neck, so I couldn't pull away.  Her lips were soft and smooth, like I had imagined a million times.  In my surprise I hadn't closed my eyes.  Far off past her shoulder, I could see the star I had been chattering on about just seconds earlier.  It seemed amazingly bright and closer than I had ever thought it before.  The part of my mind that was spilling facts fell silent, and the part that wanted to stay here, kissing Cheryl, took over.  I relaxed into her arms and entertained thoughts of love.

My eyes closed in a haze of bliss.  Through the lids, the star shone faintly red, pulsing in time with our hearts.


  1. Thanks for sharing that one, Gumbo.

  2. What a lovely moment to read about, this rather chilly July morning! Thank you!

  3. Rememer I was often frihtened when I sat on my bike, because of small roads and fast cars...

    Came by today to tell we are very soon to be 1 million holding hands all over the world.

    Wouldnt it be fun to be 1 billion? Big dreams ;)
    Join us :)

  4. that is fantastic feel,
    love the imagery,
    magnificent magpie.

  5. ..i am loving the feeling in here.. a true pleasure.. tnx!(:


  6. Hey! Hey! This post has made my Friday night. I was needing a little feelgood moment and this was plenty! Captivating.

    rolling turd.....heh heh heh.....

  7. Wow! I remember the feeling of looking at someone without seeming to look at them. So innocent and sweet. Thanks for sharing this with us. It was truly delightful!


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...