Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #183: First Kiss

Seventh Grade: Just About Midnight

Three of us crammed into a storage closet, spray painting posters for the dance, glitter in our hair, headaches throbbing from fumes and lust.

Norma Torres is all dressed in white. I am all dressed in terror, but I must. I walk over to her and ask if she wants to dance; she keeps looking up at the stage at the idiot in orange buckskin hopping around to “Gloria.” I swear he can’t even spell it, it sounds like he’s leaving out the “i.” G-L-O-R-A…Who the hell is “Glora?”

I can’t tell if it’s amusement or interest that has her attention; she still hasn’t looked my way. I turn to go, but Elena Trapani catches my eye, nods her head back towards Norma, mouths the words Ask her again. Now.

I shout this time, over the din of Orange Julius. She turns and looks at me, the sweetest praline walking the halls of Artemis Junior High. My knees have wobbled since the first day I saw her.

She nods. We inch our way through the crowd. Wayo is diving for fish with Sandra; I’ve no clue what dance Weston is doing. Thomas? Thomas speaks for himself.

Orange Julius turns deadly on me as we reach a cleared space—plops a slow song right down on us, surprisingly good choice, surprisingly good voice.

I’m not sure who takes Norma by the hand. I’m sure it’s me, but it doesn’t feel like me. That hand in mine is soft warm candy and my body is pure grape jelly. Norma is not shy; she wants to cuddle. Warm face against my shirt, hand on the back of my neck.

I died that night and still haven’t come back.



Blogger Dee Martin said...

seventh grade, holy crow. Getting to school and digging out the make-up hidden in the bottom of the purse in the girls bathroom before school and rolling up skirts that mama just did not understand about. Giggling and acting like we were all that. Dances with boys huddled in groups on one side of the gym, shoving each other and girls on the other side, "is he looking at me? Shh don't look! Is my hair okay?" The Association playing "Along Comes Mary" - how did we all ever survive ourselves? First dance with first crush, Mark whose head fit right under my chin when we slow danced...
You did this just right. Took me back and I could see it like it was a movie. Going home after that first kiss. Helping mama with the dishes and getting the talk about how I could always come home if I got in trouble. Me wondering if I was ALREADY in trouble because I had just been kissed and I wasn't exactly sure what being "in trouble" meant..

7:19 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Sista Dee: Those daze wuz sweet and delicious and hot. As to surviving ourselves, we didn't: those little selves are still seething inside us, first kisses and trouble and all.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

seventh grade? you guys were lucky! my mommy didn't let me go to dances until I was in 10th grade. by then i was no longer sweet and cute and shy, more like angry and trying to make up for lost time... and if i got in trouble, it was off to a convent for me. no wonder my friends gave me Elton John's hit single "The Bitch is Back" for my birthday that year. Practically the entire school hated her. but don't let me rain on your parade.

On a positive note: Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you all. Tonight is the full moon. If there is a Chinatown near you, I highly recommend the lotus paste moon cakes.

3:48 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Pobrecita: junior high dances were so cool, so innocent, delicious urchin passions.

Wonderful positive note with the Festival. Must see if there are still moon cakes at some of the markets here in town.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

"delicious urchin passions" is a phrase pregnant with unwritten poetry. since i don't have the experience, i suspect you may have to perform the c-section... or maybe dee will.

4:48 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: The Buckinghams' "Don't You Care" comes close. Ditto, the Supremes' "Whisper You Love Me, Boy."

5:13 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

aaah, now I understand your next post. I thought you were kicking me in the seat to get to my homework and stop monkeying around. It didn't work.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

Moon Cakes and Chinatown? I live in Paris Texas Darlin. We have Mexican, Chinese, BBQ, Mexican, Steak, Catfish, Mexican

Jr. High Dances, I had go go boots, was as skinny as Twiggy, and one of the two tallest girls in Jr. High and my daddy was six three and weighed about two eighty. I didn't need threat of a convent. NO ONE would have messed with me LOL

7:55 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: Well, now you know...

10:23 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I love how "Catfish" is a restaurant category...

10:25 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Still didn't work, Murat. I haven't cracked a homework book all night. Knotty human rights report to edit. Can't always see straight for the tears.

Dee, I needed the threat of the convent. My daddy was shorter than I and a geek. Of course, he could have BLOWN them up with a chunk of sulphur and a bucket of water, but no one outside his chemistry department knew that. We had the best Chem Club picnics during summer vacations when I was little. They would take a block of sulphur wrapped in a plastic bag. Use ice picks to poke holes in it and then throw it out into Puget Sound as far as they could from the bulkhead at my grandparents' summer cabin. As the water seeped through the bags, different color flames would erupt out and things would start to pop. We did homemade fireworks like that at the end of every picnic in July. But those are the kinds of secrets they DON'T teach you in junior high and high school chemistry. You have to be a grad student to get that kind of information... so I was saddled with the threat of the convent.

I doubt you'll find moon cakes at a Mexican restaurant. I'm surprised some erstwhile Chinese entrepreneurs haven't started a restaurant there yet. I'll have my friends scope the place out.

2:12 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Work on a moon festival day? Where are your priorities?

I am one of the storytellers for the younger kids' Sunday School class. Last night, I was rehearsing the story of Noah and the ark, thinking how cool it would be if it rained this morning: there's a monsoon outside right now. When I opened the door to look at it, a raccoon sauntered across the sidewalk, about five feet from the door...guess the animals are gathering again.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

HaHa Our Chinese restaurant has fried chicken, tacos, and make your own ice cream sundaes on the all you can eat buffet...No moon cakes. Murat, of COURSE catfish is a category - all you can eat of course.
Teresa, your dad sounds marvelous! I loved my dad but he was blue collar. Worked the factory during the week and at night and weekends, repaired lawnmowers and outboard motors out of his garage. He liked to have fun, but not a lot of time for it. I'm sorry there are tears..
Murat - good morning for an ark story here as well. We will be paddling to church this morning and from the looks of the radar - back home as well. I once took a Sunday class full of kids and we walked what we had estimated the length of the ark to be. Of course the ones at the back of the line were distracted - maybe a raccoon crossed their path as well :)

7:28 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: We are back from church: not just a monsoon, but flooded streets all the way there. Wonderful backdrop to the Noah story.

Just kidding you about the catfish category. Mendenhall, MS, where the "Mississippi Cheese" post was set, had an awesome catfish restaurant.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Well, Murat, I have learned of a new low in modern Chinese society. "Infant Soup" made from the bodies of forcibly aborted fetuses and said to increase male virility. I didn't want to take the job, but after flipping through it, it seemed that some of these things needed to see the light of day in comprehensible English. I think sometimes justice has to take precedence over frolics. I did take time to go out to dinner with the gang.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Hope your monsoon floods are just a little divine background lesson for the Sunday school crew and don't escalate to epic or Biblical proportions. I don't think that a Chinese restaurant's failure to serve moon cakes in Paris, Texas is quite on a par with the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I've finished the report. When it comes out, I'll try to link it on my blog. It made some very telling points. Not many of them fun or cheery.

12:56 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: The tides are ebbing over here, but they were plenty dramatic in their way: I'm hoping there was enough rain west of here to push the Frio River down to its dryer stretches along the western boundary of my parents' ranch land in Uvalde County: when running, the Frio down there is gorgeous.

Glad you got through the report: all the more recent for a lunar festival.

1:18 PM  
Blogger anno said...

Mmmm... this was delicious, orange julius, sweet pralines, and all. But. Seventh grade? Wow, you were way ahead of me. Back then, I was still planning to become the first Baptist nun.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous missalister said...

Paschal, dahling, you look so good in Terror. That’s dry clean only, right? Well, anyway, I adored your recounting. So much so that I’m taking years off the you in your angelic father-son photo to get an inkling of your grape jelly self that Miss Norma was appreciating you so very much. Lucky for you I was up north. Now, I can only wonder what kind of jelly you are after your passing.

5:55 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: My story's off by a year, actually: poetic license, I was morphing some things into a riff off of Sherman Alexie's structure for his story "Indian Education." I had my freshman Indians writing their own "educations," with the same structure. Patty Horst was seventh grade; dark alluring Norma was eighth. School dances, home dance parties - that was the scene in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, all us little romeos and juliets, starstruck army brats. Listening late to WLS out of Chicago.

My merry freshman band turned in some awesome stories, very surprising, considering their apparent disregard of Alexie's story itself. Brilliant stories, though a fair amount of Carrie-like vengeance blood, alienation and dislocation, and nonhumans as protagonists.

6:40 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Duchess: Paisley terror at that. Norma was all in white, nice against the praline skin. Long walk around the base, full moon, a little band of us, eighth graders, mind you, where were our parents?


You wanna do the time-warp thing, go for it. Now, it's fig preserves at best, tomato aspic - yikes - at worst. Inside? Still grape, still full moon desire...Never changes.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

Aw =)
I died too, reading this!

5:10 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

DM: You see what got all the musical reminiscing started...

5:56 PM  

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