"Zoe, Zoe," I vaguely heard the soft sound of my brother's voice by my bed. "Zoe, there's a letter for you downstairs."
I opened one eye then the other to see Gene standing by my bed with his small arms behind his back standing up straight like a little gentleman. His brown hair was swept back on his head neatly; And his green eyes seem to glow like emeralds. I sat up, stretching my arms out to the side and then yawned with my hand covering my mouth as I did so. I stood and quietly walked down the stairs in my long, white night dress with long sleeves. My long blonde hair ran down freely down my back.
Gene was right behind me.
I entered the kitchen to see Grandmother Maxine busily up at the stove frying eggs. She turned and smiled at me with excitement and then moved over to the table and picked up a small, white envelope and handed it to me. I held it between my hands gazing down at the handwriting. I recognised the handwriting instantly. It was Papa's. My heart quickened with excitement as I turned the envelope over and tore it open and began reading the letter to myself. I sat down slowly at the table.
"Zoe, don't keep us in suspense. What does your father say?" Grandmother said impatiently. She saw the tears that had welled up in my eyes and thought the worse. "What is it? Is it your father?" her voice was beginning to crack as she thought of the worse of what could have happened to Papa.
I shook my head "no, Grandmother, quite the opposite. Papa is coming home tomorrow night from the war," I told her and Gene incredulously. Hardly believing Papa was finally coming home.
"Read the letter out to us, please, Zoe," begged Gene, I placed him on my lap and he wrapped his little arms around my neck as I began reading the letter aloud. I cleared my throat
Dearest Zoe, 1st October, 1945
How are you? How is Grandmother Maxine and that little rascal of mine, Gene? I am well and I'm returning home tomorrow night from the war. A friend of mine was killed by a cannon ball, which I'm devastated about.
How was your first term at St Clara's Academy like for you? I hope the teachers havent been too hard on you. I bet you've made lots of friends.
I haven't stopped thinking about you all and how much I've missed you.
I shall see you very shortly.
Grandmother and Gene shrieked out with joy and Gene kissed my cheek grinning at me and I grinned back. He jumped down from my lap and ran off excitedly.
I stood up and hugged Grandmother Maxine and asked, "when was this sent?"
"It was sent today so your father is in town!" responded Grandmother smiling from ear to ear.
I hugged her quickly again before rushing back upstairs to get ready for my date with the handsome Jack Pascal.
An hour later I was downstairs wearing a long, peach- coloured silk skirt with a light pink blouse tucked neatly into my skirt.
Grandmother glanced up from what she was reading in the daily newspaper and her grey, thin eyebrows rose in surprise "you look very nice, Zoe, where are you going today?" she asked curiously.
My cheeks bushed.
"Are you meeting some boy?" she questioned my embarrassed look sternly as she got up and walked over to me.
Grandmother Maxine sighed heavily and walked over to the lime coloured soft cushioned chair in the living room and sat down. "Listen, Zoe," she began saying, resting her hands in her lap. "I may be seventy two years old and getting on in life but I still notice that your body is developing in a young woman's. I think it's about time I told you about the birds and the bees."
I giggled, "Grandmother, I already know about the birds and the bees," I said.
She tilted her head to the side. "What do you know?"
"I know that when a man and a woman love each other they make love. The man's penis enters the woman's vagina and sperm enters the woman when the man has reached sexual climax. And if a sperm has met up with the woman's egg it fertilises it and it then starts to become a growing fetus - ababy." I smiled proudly.
Grandmother stared back in astonishment in her chair. "Good. Just be careful, don't let any boy, no matter how nice and charming he is, take advantage of you," she shaked a slim, wrinkly finger my way.
"Don't worry, Grandmother, I won't be having sex for a very long time."
She smiled kindly. "Go and have fun then."
I smiled back and went over to give her a kiss on the cheek and then ran out the house and shouted out bye over my shoulder. I jumped onto my bike and raced down the bending green hills. I arrived down to the beach without hitting anyone or any crashes. I noticed Jack Pascalhad already arrived at the beach and cycled over to him with smile on my face. He was wearing green shorts and t shirt. His dark brown hair blowing wild in the wind.
"Hey, Zoe," Jack said, turning as he heard me coming.
"Hi, Jack," I said.
"I got this for you," he handed me a pretty red rose.
My heart began to flutter, "it's beautiful, thank you," I said, lifting it to my nose to smell it with my eyes closed.
This made him happy.
We both frew silent.
"I was thinking we could go and get a milkshake and burger," Jack suggested, grabbing hold of his bike that was leaning against the wall and walked it until it was lined up with mine. We smiled at each other and started walking up the road.
It took us at least five minutes from the beach to reach the food diner Jack told me about called, 'JULIE'S DINER', in big, pink and blue letters above the door. We padlocked our bikes at the front and then walked into the diner.
As soon as Jack and I walked in people stopped what they were doing and gawped at us whether they were playing pool in the smoky pool room, smoky corner or sitting at the bar where the counter was or even sitting at tables eating.
My muscles inside clenched anxiously then I felt Jack's soft hand grab hold of my right hand tightly for assurance that it was alright.
Jack led me to the counter while I turned my head from shoulder to shoulder to see some people had begun to play and eat again. But some were wondering who I was.
A tall, stocky woman came over to us with shoulder length auburn wavy hair. Her face was pretty but washeavy made up with makeup. The woman was wearing ared elbow lengthtight dress with a dirty red apron over it. She wore black high heels on her feet.
"Hi, there, Jack, what can I get you today?" she asked Jack with a big bright smile.
Jack smiled, "Hi, Julie, can we have two cheeseburgers and chips and a large chocolate milkshake to share," he said. He pulled out his black wallet from his shorts pocket and pulled out some money. He turned to me "why don't you go and find us an empty table while I wait for our order."
I nodded and turned and went to find an empty table to sit at. I found an empty white table at the back by the window so I could look out and gaze out at the familiar surroundings of my hometown. I saw cars and trucks zooming past on the road. Women in their late twenties and early thirties holding hands with their little children as they crossed over the road. A young couple stood outside the diner in a passionate embrace as they kissed. I wished that was me and I'd be in love like that some day.
"Wow, look at those two," Jack said casually coming up to thr table plopping our tray down and gave me my cheeseburge and chips. He sat down opposite me.
JUlie came over and placed our large chocolatemilkshake in front of us I smiled at her with gratitude and she smiled back then winked before turning to deal with other customes.
Jack leaned forward a bit and gazed into my blue eyes. He stared at me with such intensity.
"What's wrong?" I asked him, with a nervous laugh. "I don't have a massive spot on my face, have I?"
He shook his head.
"Then why are you staring at me?"
Jack's handsome face suddenly became hurt "sorry, it's just you're so beautiful I can't help but not to stare." he told me.
I blushed and picked up my cheeseburger and took a big bite out of it and it tasted delicious. I finished it quickly to his surprise. I laughed. I dabbed the napkin at the corners of my mouth. My eyes glanced over at the big chocolate milkshake and we both finished it off within seconds.
Jack and I began to tease each other saying each of us had a blob of chocolate milkshake on our nose or something else. We made other laugh until I noticed the time on his watch on his left wrist. It was five o' clock. I told Grandmother I'd be back by six.
"I'm sorry, Jack, but I have to go. I told my Grandmother I'd be home by six," I said, standing up and getting ready to leave.
"No problem," Jack replied, and we left the diner.
The sun had gone behind dark clouds that had moved across the sky and threatened rain. I shivered as the temperature had dropped. Jack and I grabbed our bikes and began to cycle fast back up the hill before it started to rain heavily.
Jack rode with me back to my house and then came the most wonderful experience of all: I got my first real kiss. Jack had leaned in and pressed his lips gently against mine.
"I know you're going back to the academy tomorrow," said Jack sadly. His head was slightly lowered and then looked me straight in the eye. "it was such a pleasure meeting you, Zoe Smith. I hope our own paths will bump into each other's in the near future," with that, Jack leaned forward and kissed me again on the lips.
"I'll never ever forget you, Jack Pascal. I, too, hope in the near future our paths will collide on each other again," I said firmly. My heart skipped a beat and pounded against my chest.
Jack got ready to cycle off just after he kissed me for the third time! This time it was longer and passionate.
"Good bye, Zoe," he said.
"Bye, Jack," I replied, choking back the tears that were threatening to spill down my cheeks.
He sighed and then began to cycle away glancing and waved back at me and I waved sadly back.
Jack Pascal, the very handsome seventeen year old, was gone from my life now. Just like Mama was.
I felt tears running down my cheeks so I wiped them away just as the heavens opened and rain poured like a waterfall from the sky. I quickly got into the house
The wonderful moments of Jack Pascal kissing me passionately on the lips would play on my lips and linger there for a very, very, and very long time to come. After all, it was my very first real kiss!