Wildflower Road

     Two days out of every week, that was all. Just two days, I would walk several houses on the path that snaked behind his and or neighbor’s houses. I didn’t mind the walk. Except the way back was dark in the forest behind here. What I did on those days was what I remembered for many years after. I went there on a whim the first time, to see him. He had yellow, long hair way past his suntanned shoulders. And he was all blue eyes and smirks. It was all I could remember, those ice blue eyes against the clear sky on that summer day. The Achilles heel I later named him. He was my weakness that started during that desperately hot summer in nineteen eighty.

     The first time I went to visit I wasn’t invited. Well, not formally or anything like that. I’d seen him baling hay out in the field across the road from my house, where I lived with my mother. My mother’s name is Jo, short for Jolene. She and  I where tooling by in our old Chevy truck, as he and his daddy stood there without their shirts on, sweat drops turning to diamonds on his shoulders and arms. I turned my head and took a good long look at him while I listened to the truck radio and my momma’s idle chatter. “Oh uh-huh” I mumbled in absentmindedness, as I stared at the Greek God who was my neighbor. I, lost in a dream heard the sound of my mother’s voice above the dream I was creating mentally, “Judy are you even listenin’ to me?” Her own eyes looking now, out the window of the passenger side of our truck. The wind, coming in the window fast now, whipped around my face so I couldn’t see. For a few seconds I was blinded by my thick brown locks, whipping around my face so I couldn’t see. And by the time I pulled my hair back from my face, we’d driven by the place where he’d been standing. I turned my body all the way around in the seat to get another look at him. And he’d done the same. He was standing looking back at me, over his shoulder with his golden torso half way turned toward the dirt road. As our truck kicked up dust and rattled down the road to our yellow house on Wildflower Road.

     My mother blew smoke out her mouth and nose “now don’t you be getting’ in any trouble with that boy. You don’t know nothin’ ‘bout him.” She said those words to me while she was looking straight ahead over the steering wheel. But by the time her last syllable fell from her red lips, I’d already decided that it was exactly what I planned on doing, and soon.

     I don’t recall exactly how it was that I knew which of the large houses he lived in. I just knew. It was one of those hot days in the summer, the first time I did that walk out back through the forest to his house. I don’t even know how it was that I knew he’d be home, but I knew, and he was.

     I’d taken all that morning planning. Planning what I’d say, what I’d wear and painting my toenails pink. I used a pair of my jeans, and cut them off with my mother’s sewing scissors. I cut them high up on my thighs. And then I pulled them on and rolled up the edges just right. I shoved my tiny bottle of whiskey in one of the pockets and hopped off the back wooden deck, my white sneakers hitting the dirt ground with a little thud.

     I could smell the lemon shampoo still drying in my hair as I walked. I left it damp, knowing it would dry in the sun on my jaunt over to his house, through the edge of the forest. The mosquitos lit on my arms and buzzed around my nose. I swatted and smacked one of my wrists. And I pulled my whiskey out of my pocket and took a little sip, to get my nerve up. I knew it would be a trip worth the walk. I couldn’t wait to see the look of his blue eyes, when he’d see me standing at his back door. And it wouldn’t be none of anybody’s business but our own. And that’s the way it stayed for a long time.


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