Things with Lydia were done for the time being…
Leslie called me. We’d dated in high school, the year before as a matter of fact. She was a good kisser. Who am I kidding? She made me harder than Chinese arithmetic.
She was a good girl though, not too good, but just the right amount of naughtiness for a 16-year-old girl. She was an “over the sweater” type of girl, and it just made you crazy for her.
It ended between us because, sexual genius that I am, I didn’t realize I was being a sloppy kisser. I learned from it. I dated her and then one of my best friends did, right afterward. I was sore as hell. He and I hardly spoke for a week ’til one day I got into his truck and he was playing “All Out of Love,” by Air Supply.
It was done. He got dumped by my ex and now I have to suffer for it? I reached over and flipped the station. U2 was playing.
We both laugh about it now. We nearly came to blows over Air Supply.
Nearly one year later he and I were off on our own separate roads. He was nearly married and I was a wreck after losing Lydia. The phone rang. “Oh! thank God, Tommy. I was hoping you were home on leave.” She sounded sincere. I think it was the sweetest thing I’d heard in six months. I was shining inside.
“Oh Wow! Hey!”
“Am I going to get to see you before you leave?”
“I’m getting my coat on now. I can be there in two minutes.”
One of the things I always dug about Leslie was that you could hear her smile over the phone. She had an audible smile, I swear to you. It was a gasp of delight she made when she smiled.
Her gangly kid brother answered the door. Nice kid. Just seemed awkward, kinda shy. Nice kid though. He was studying martial arts. He seemed very proud of that.
We sat chatting momentarily. She appeared in the living room with her dad. Her dad and I sat drinking a beer and talking hand guns, as I had some newly acquired training from the Navy. Her dad offered to sell me a .357 with a 2 1/2″ barrel. I had no idea of what the protocol would have been for bringing it on base, so I declined. I figured that the Navy would give me a gun when I needed one. That’s 19-year-old thinking for you.
She sat very close to me. I could smell her. She used to wear real light perfume. She smelled beautiful in an innocent kind of way. She didn’t smell like booze, cigarettes, cheap perfume, expensive perfume or any of that shit. She smelled clean right down to her lovely soul. Light always seemed to radiate from her. But that day she seemed sad. We left and went out to dinner and a movie.
Afterward she made an off-handed comment that she’d never visited my house. I reintroduced her to my parents. We went upstairs on our grand tour and we came to my room. I turned and she was looking around. She looked up and there was sadness in her eyes.
“Okay, let’s have it. What’s wrong?”
“I’m just having a hard time. The stuff with mom and dad…” She trailed off; I hugged her.
“You aren’t going to forget me are you, Tommy? The world is a scary place sometimes. I have a hard time thinking of you and Tony out there getting into danger.” She stopped for a moment and intertwined her fingers nervously.
“I wish I was old enough for you.”
It was a surprise. It was the first time I’d stopped and thought of myself as an adult. “When I get out we’ll see if you still feel the same way.” I said as I pulled her to me again.
“Tommy, please don’t forget me.” she whispered into my shoulder. Of course, I never did.
Kurt Hines is a jaundiced optimist. He believes writing and punk rock have two things in common: they’re both cheaper than therapy and they’re both a hell of a lot more fun. He is finding his guts when it comes to writing, spewing about his street level view—reality as he can best distill it. He currently lives in Sherman Oaks with his lovely and supportive girlfriend and their dog Doug. He is a father to two teenaged sons, Liam and Conor. Address all fan and hate mail to:[email protected].
Editor: Anne Clendening