A lovely lady named Andrea at weak.meat.strong.eat started something called "story time saturday." You can post your story on your own blog and she'll link it from hers, or you can just send it to her and she'll post it. Last Saturday the concept was "concrete." That's all she gives you and you run with it...in whatever direction you choose.
This was my contribution:
When I was a child my feet were rough from the summers spent running barefoot over gravel at my grandparents house, and the hot Texas concrete at home. Concrete that was so hot you could, literally, cook an egg on it. My feet were so rough you couldn’t even cut them with a knife. Rough enough that I always thought the people who would walk on coals weren’t doing anything special.
During those summers I came inside daily with new skinned knees and elbows from playing tackle football in the street. New scars that arrived from random adventures with friends and cousins. I once rode a bicycle off the roof of my grandpas barn. My cousins had told me they’d done it before…they hadn’t. The thorn bush I landed in didn’t help matters. I hopped a chain link fence only to have a spoke slide into my thigh. Missing my femoral artery by mere millimeters. I still waited an hour to tell my mother because I had torn a brand new pair of jeans. I hated those faded gray jeans. That one took four stitches inside and four outside. I almost took my cousins eye out with a bb during a bb gun war. I shot him through a large wall of sheet metal. Aiming blindly.
We would chug beers in my Uncles work shed. Betting who would finish it the fastest. We held on to the illusion that we were adults. Sneaking a cigarette every now and then. Using language that would normally get us a beating at home.
We were immortal.
During these childhood years I never had a summer love. I regret that. I also regret the young love found in small towns. To know everything about someone simply from having grown up with them.
I didn’t have my first real kiss until I was sixteen. In the fourth grade I chased a girl into the girls bathroom and had her kiss me…but that doesn’t count.
I always wanted to know what it was like to lay in a Texas field and count the stars, a girl curled into my arm. Crickets singing their song.
To take my dads truck out for a date on a Friday night.
To share a milkshake.
To have a love that preceded working and paying bills.
I didn’t even have my first real date until I was out of high school. I lost my virginity to someone that wasn’t worth it. I haven’t had a relationship last longer than a year.
The unattainable youthful love wasn’t from lack of trying…mind you. Nor was it because I was uninterested in girls.
My friends and I would ride our bicycles down the street, baseball cards in the spokes, debating about who the prettiest girl in school was. Swearing to each other that as we sat in class we could see their skirt rising. The trickeries of teenage eyesight (that still happens). One such girl I asked out five times, from the fifth grade to my junior year. She never said yes. Being in a college town we would sit on the curb down the road from sorority row and watch the girls come out in clothes entirely too tight for them. We would idly drool at them during annual car washes. Wondering. Waiting. For the time when we too were in college and could get girls like that.
I never did…I wonder if they did.
I was the kid that got passed over while playing spin the bottle…because none of the girls wanted to kiss me.
I was the weird kid that sat in the back of the room and kept to himself.
I was the kid that played sports but never had a popular position.
The kid that sang in the choir, and worked on the newspaper.
Growing up I’ve always seemed to have a best friend that was better with the ladies. First it was Jason, then it was John, now it’s Steven. I’ve lost count of the number of times a girl, or woman, has asked me if they were single. Of the number of times I’ve talked to a lady for hours only for them to eventually ask me that very same question. To flirt with reckless abandon and find out they were only talking to me to get to them.
I always wondered what it would be like to hold hands under the lights and noises of a high school football game.
To pick up a date at her parents house.
To sneak a goodnight kiss before the porch light comes on.
The romantic, elusive, summer love.
So now I still hit the concrete. My feet are still tough. I drive a car instead of riding a bicycle. I still sit on the curb watching women go by…only now I do it while sipping can beer and grinding cigarettes under my heel.
And I’m still waiting for a summer love.
I’m still waiting to curl up with that lady and read the stars.
Still waiting for my quick goodnight kiss on a front porch.
I’m still waiting.