Three years ago
“Have you ever been to Sal’s?” I asked her. We were walking down the sidewalk in our neighborhood, heading for the library from some books I thought she might like to hear. No she still couldn’t read, by that time I had given up on her and one day asked Ruby if she could find a professional to teach her.
“What is she gonna do with a book? She can’t marry it, she can’t make babies with it, and it sure as hell isn’t gonna take care of her.” Was what she told me.
“She loves books, though. Why not teach her? There’s more to fiction in literature than you might care to think Mrs. Longing, but she loves and she could actually learn from them.” I was getting upset with her and told her this a much nosier fashion than I had planned on doing.
“She’s not your daughter!” she shrieked at me. “If you spent half as much time “teaching” her than you do traversing around town doing God knows what you would know it isn’t easy! She’s too stupid to get anything in that damn head of her!”
I lost it.
“She’s not stupid!” I shoved my finger at her. “She is a smart, beautiful, caring person, and if you spent half as much time just being around her for crying out loud you might know this!”
Evaine was sitting in the next room watching us, panicking, hoping we weren’t going to hit each other.
“What! For God’s sake what do you want?”
She shrunk away and I went to her- tried to go to her. Mrs. Longing grabbed at my arm and pulled me back.
“Look at her! She a coward! What beauty is that?” she spat at me.
I yanked my arm out of her hand, nearly causing her to fall, and went to Evaine, took her hand gently and lead her out of the house. I stopped at the door: “I have looked at her, I always look at her!” I said, “I’ve seen more of HER and you have in your entire life! And she deserves more than you, and that man who claims to love her only when he’s two quirts deep in beer!” I looked at her; she looked at me confused and scared, and beautiful. I could feel Mrs. Longing’s gaze burn into while I stared at her daughter. I didn’t care. I don’t know what I was looking for while I was staring at her: maybe a flaw? - A defect? -Some resonance of ugliness?
We left the house.
When the door closed I had to try something. I don’t know why I tried because I knew it would scare her. I needed to try this.
I kissed her.
I pressed my lips to hers, slowly. I was so careful- so scared that I might frighten her away. I didn’t want her to run away from me.
She was shocked, from what I could tell from the shift in her breathing, but she didn’t pull away. My eyes were closed, I didn’t want to see her face while I did this, it wasn’t forced but I couldn’t bear to see her face if she were scared or confused. Confused, I could handle, but not fear.
When she didn’t pull away I placed my hand on her cheek, deepened the kiss, and pulled her, slowly- ever so slightly, closer to me.
I could feel her hands moving, I think she was trying to do what I was doing. Either that or she was struggling with getting me off of her.
My heart was pounding in my ears, I couldn’t hear anything, and I couldn’t see anything. I only felt her lips and her body close to mine. And I wanted to go further.
God, I really wanted to go further. . .
I wanted to show her what this kind of love is, what she is to me. I wanted to tell her I love her. I wanted to love her.
But I pulled away.
When I opened my eyes, just before I pulled away, I saw that her eyes were closes so tight I could see the veins in her cheeks.
Her hands were on my arms and when I finally did pull away, I rubbed my thumb under her eye. And she looked at me.
Her eyes begged for praise; she wanted to be told she had done it right.
“D-d- did I . . . do it right?” she reluctantly asked.
I wouldn’t have cared if she didn’t; I was only happy because she didn’t run away.
I smiled at her.
“You did it beautifully.”
I kissed her forehead and she smiled back at me. There were no questions, no fear, no confusion . . . only happiness.
I open my eyes . . .
I can’t wait anymore.
I need to see her.
I’m shaking with the urge to touch her again.
I’m currently at school, University of Maine, for law. I could skip today’s classes . . . tomorrow is Saturday. No classes.
I’ve made up my mind; I’m going to see her, tonight.
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