Things Lost, Things Gained


The human brain

Patricia and I huddled together in the back of the pickup truck after the football game, close enough for our body heat to warm us through our jackets.

We defaulted to each other.  Almost everyone else had someone to hug, kiss, giggle and whisper with.  Patricia was alone and so was I.  She looked at me, and I at her.  I moved in slow, cautious, and she closed the distance between us.  For a moment something sparked.

I knew her from grade school.  She was just there.  Nothing special to me, not a longing crush or an unrequited infatuation.  She kept to herself and her friends, and I to mine.  Our orbits never intersected until that late October night, under the sodium arc lamps of the tiny town’s main drag in the plywood-floored bed of a ‘77 Chevy Silverado stepside.

After eighth grade, she went to the local high school.  I went to the private college-prep Catholic high school in a neighboring town, a much more affluent suburb beyond the rolling yellow hills.  I didn’t see her for a long time, but one day in early September we met again.

She stood outside the grocery store with ready-smile and flyer in hand, her pitch on her lips.  When she saw me she smiled, and gave a shy little wave.  I returned both.  I didn’t think about it again.  But my friend Glenn invited his old grade school cadre out for the home coming game, and my buddy Bob – one of those high-quality, use-‘em-for-what-they-can-give-you-in-the-moment “friends” I had then – drove four of us to the game.  Afterward, eight crowded to the truck for the drive home.  Some crammed into the cab but enough of us tumbled into the little box of the truck to make things intimate.

I sidled over beside Patricia, and she gave me that little smile again, just as she had in front of the grocery store.  We rode in silence until I slid my arm around her shoulders and she leaned into my chest.  We traveled that way for a time before we finally touched lips in a tender, innocent version of something like loneliness and smoldering passion.

Far too quickly, we got to her house and I helped her out of the bed of the truck.  She smiled, thanked the driver and waved to us all.  I stole one last kiss, which she returned, and as the truck pulled away and left her standing curbside in the dark, my eyes locked with hers and lingered.  I watched her, silhouetted against the pale blue streetlight puddled on the sidewalk, as she turned and went in.

I never saw Patricia again.

Nothing may have ever come of it; something grand may have.  I’ll never know.  Time and circumstance worked like a rip tide to pull us apart.  But every once in a while, I remember that ride in the back of that ‘77 Chevy pickup and the way Patricia smiled at me, kissed me, and never said a word.

Sometimes, that’s how I feel about my waistline too.  *Sigh*

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

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15 thoughts on “Things Lost, Things Gained

  1. “flyer in hand, her pitch on her lips” – it’s wonderful that she never speaks a word to you and the pitch on her lips is never clarified. I also noticed that you never really described her which works well with the idea of lost opportunities being an unknown. You definetly pulled out a laugh with the final line. Thank you for a fun morning read. I think we all have at least one of these in our past if that makes it any better.

    Thanks, Jayme. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. I wish I had the freedom to explore my past this way without you-know-who seeing it as a threat.

    My feelings echo Jaymie’s. Well done.

    Thanks! Did you like the joke part, or did I miss?

  3. Ha! Got me. I wasn’t expecting a blowline at the end of such a romantic story. 🙂 Very sweet, and definitely funny at the end.

    Thank you so much! It’s all true, too … especially the waistline part, unfortunately. *Sigh* 😉

  4. But… but… but… WHAT HAPPENED? Did she die some horrible lonely death or what?

    Oh wait… maybe I totally missed the joke?

    Looks like you did. Now you have to write “I will pay more attention to Knyt’s blog posts” 5000 times on your Blackberry.

  5. What happened..Ill tell you…someone else started hittin it..cause Knyt was wus and didnt step up…..just think of the dude that hit that….oh well….Zman

    Ah, well. Hopefully she reported the abuser to the police and he was arrested, and she lived happily ever after. 😀

  6. Sounds like Garth Brook’s Some of God’s Greatest Gifts are Unanswered Prayers. I got here from Facebook so you are doing something right!

    HA! Got it at last! Thanks for all your help on that, Sara!

  7. I loved your telling of this, especially the end.

    Well, thank you. 🙂

    I miss my waistline too. It was a brief affair but I long for it to this day.

    Yes indeed. It burned brief but hot, that affair with my flat tummy.

    Now, Falcon–your turn 😉

  8. Perhaps she’d be happy to be remembered this way? I think I would.

    Interesting thought. Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t considered it, actually. 🙂

    And I liked the joke. Brought it back to the present and life how it is.

    I appreciate that. Comedy from my brain often doesn’t make others laugh, even if it leaves me in stitches. 🙂

  9. Very well done sir. I really enjoyed it, as always when it comes to your prose you can speak volumes with very brief, well constructed sentences.

    Thanks, Al, I appreciate that! Very kind of you!

    I admit that in my 40’s- despite being very happily married I do sometimes wonder about what might have been.

    To paraphrase Robert Frost- The Boffs Not Taken.

    Ha! I don’t know if that was ever on the table, but at that age, I’m not sure what else I hoped WAS on the table. 🙂

  10. Ahh…and I was eagerly anticipating the “happily ever after ” ending. Always a hopeless romantic !

    I loved the line “Time and circumstance worked like a rip tide to pull us apart”. Lovely.

    Thanks,

    Colleen

    Colleen, thank you so much for coming by and reading my blog. I’m so glad to have your company for a short time. Thank you too for the very kind compliment. I appreciate it. 🙂

  11. Your story leaves me wanting more. What a fascinating read!

    Thank you very much! It’s very flattering coming from you, MASTER of interesting blog posts. 🙂

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