Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girl Games

It sure seems dark tonight.  I guess there aren’t as many stars in the sky.  The lights on the bridge are the same.  So are the car headlights.  I sit in the same place, on the same rock every time I stop here. I like this rock, and I like sitting by the river, even if it does smell kind of salty and dirty.  The waves look green, don’t they? I think it’s a reflection off the bridge. Pretty smart eh? Yeah. Reflection. That’s what it is.

I saw Sandra in the cafeteria at lunch on Friday and she said she’d tell her parents if I kept following her home from school.  I don’t know why she made such a big deal about it.  I thought she liked me following her.  She smiled at me twice in the hallway and once in Chemistry.  I thought she finally liked me.  I guess I got it wrong again, like last year with Bethany. Girls play all sorts of games, I can’t figure it out.  

My buddies act the same stupid way too.  One minute you’re freaking best friends and then the next minute they tell you to get lost.  Lorne was a pretty good guy until he made goalie.  Now he won’t even look at me in class.  He sits in the back with that dweeb Mike who plays centre on the hockey team and they crack jokes all through Mrs. Langston’s English class.  It’s not right; she’s one of the few nice teachers we’ve got.  But Lorne and Mike are on ‘the team’ and that makes them gods.  Just ask ‘em, they’ll tell you all about it.  Of course, Lorne did kick his new best friend when Mike called me a dyke. I appreciated that show of support. He didn’t say anything but it was a pretty good kick in the thigh.

My brother Pete told me that I should stop being a tomboy and start acting like a girl.  I told him that I don’t have to because with the way he acts, Mom and Dad already have a daughter.  I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings but geez, come on.  I’m fifteen.  I know all about what I should be doing.  Doesn’t make it any easier to actually do it.  That’s why I like, no wait, make that ‘liked’, that’s why I liked Sandra.  She knows what she’s doing when it comes to being a girl.  

Sandra and I were friends in grade six.  That’s how long I’ve known her.  But I tell you, she really has changed since then.  Yeah, I know she’s older, I’m not an idiot.  But in grade six, all Sandra and I talked about was softball.  We learned it together.  I was a great pitcher and a great hitter; still have a good arm actually.  And Sandra – Sandra could run.  I could get her home from any base she landed on.  I hit the ball and she flew.  I’ll tell you a secret.  The best thing about softball that year was seeing Sandra run.  

Anyways, one day, we were sitting in the dugout after the game and she was talking about how she thought it was great that I could always get the baseball to the exact spot I wanted it to go.  Her arm was not meant for throwing.  So we went up onto the field, and I tried to show her.  I took her hand and explained how to grip the ball for maximum control. Then I stood behind her and showed her how to swing her arm.  We did that a few times, but as I was swinging her arm, with my arm holding hers in the right position, I couldn’t stop myself.  I leaned in and smelled her hair.  I stuck my face right into her golden brown-with-blonde-highlights-from-the-sun-hair and I took a deep breath.  

That wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done.  Sandra jumped away from me, like I’d given her an electric shock or something.  She turned and looked at me – stared right into my eyes. I stared back but I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t figure out how to explain what I’d done. Even then I knew she wouldn’t understand and I couldn’t make her.  Sandra kept looking at me but she didn’t say anything either. Her face kept changing, right in front of me.   It was like she went from being scared to being disgusted to being happy to being scared again.  We must have looked pretty odd, the two of us, standing under the lights on the diamond just staring at each other.

Sandra finally looked away and said she was riding her bike home so had to leave before it got dark.  I remember it perfectly because she ran across the diamond over to where the bikes were kept at the side of the field’s parking lot. I was mad she was leaving but she looked beautiful when she ran away.

Since that day, Sandra has only ever spoken to me when she was forced.  But like I said, last week was different.  She kept smiling at me.  Well, she smiled at me three times.  Smiling three times at a person you haven’t even wanted to look at for years? That’s a lot, isn’t it? No wonder I got the wrong idea. 

So I thought I’d follow her home, to see if she would talk to me.  Walking behind her was cool.  Like I said, she knows what she’s doing when it comes to being a girl. And I can tell you, I mean that from the front and from the back.  I know girls aren’t supposed to look at other girls’ butts but when you’re walking behind someone, what else are you going to look at?  A butt is the only thing then.  
Sandra knew I was there because when she got to her house, she turned as she was putting the key in the door, and looked right over at me standing beside her dad’s truck.   We walked to her house the same way two days in a row after that.  But on Friday, she walked over to me in the cafeteria and told me to get lost.  She said it kind of quietly but I knew she meant it.  She looked like she was going to cry.  I didn’t want to make her cry so I told her she didn’t have to tell me to get lost.  I wasn’t going to follow her again anyways.  I said that quietly too.  You never know in that cafeteria who’s listening to what conversation.  Anyways, it was just like in Grade Six softball again.  Sandra stared at me and I stared back, neither of us saying a word until she looked away after a few minutes, and said she had to go because her next class was French.  The language labs are on the other side of our high school.

So that’s it really.  I wouldn’t be thinking about any of this except tonight I got a phone call from her.   She said she wanted to meet me and talk.  Which is funny when you think about it - we aren’t much good at talking, her and I.  I’m willing to give it a shot though.  Sandra said she knew where I sat beside the bridge.  I don’t know how she knows this spot, I’ve never told anyone.  I didn’t ask her.  She said to meet her here at five o’clock.  I got here at four thirty.  I wanted her to know it was important to me.  

It’s five after five now, and here she comes down the path.  Wow, I sure am glad she’s late.  She still looks beautiful when she runs.


  1. Thank you Jo. I enjoyed reading that more than anything else I've read this past week. It was a perfect way to end the day.

    1. Thank you KD for your comment. I was pleased to have a story that didn't end in melancholy! Always appreciate your support.

  2. Wow, stand-out work, Jo, well done. You've got her voice beautifully and the way you give out the exposition is spot on (loved the song too, haven't heard that version before :))

    1. Your comments always mean a lot to me, thank you Chris.

  3. This is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It's lovely to see you stretch out with this longer piece, and makes me hope that it is time for you to write and share longer pieces on a more regular basis. This piece is delicate and nuanced and I am hoping and fearing for the outcome of this meeting.

    1. Thank you for such generous comments Lori. I have been writing longer pieces in earnest so yes, I will probably be putting more of them up on the blog. I appreciate the words delicate and nuanced. Those were music to my heart!