One of my favorite bloggers, Edward Hotspur, has challenged his readers to submit an entry into his new thingy…, Romantic Monday. This will be a weekly submission. Most people don’t like Mondays, so our fellow Word Presser Edward has decided to give us all something to look forward to on the most loathsome day of the week. Here is my first foray into the “Romance” genre. I hope that I still sound like myself, just a lot more mushy. Thank you so much for reading, and please go to Mr. Hotspur’s blog to read the other entries, and hopefully submit one of your own.
Happy Romantic Monday!
The Bonfire Effect
Red Boots & Checkered Vans
She was a diminutive dork in multi-colored, mis-matched fashion separates. She was dubbed Pee Wee Punker within hours of making her not so grand entrance to the dormitory that a new crop of freshman boys and girls now called home. Flitting here and there, trying and failing to dazzle by implementing the slo-mo-hair shake, which fails miserably with a heavily shellacked perm-mullet.
In those initial weeks away from home, she had made some friends, grown up just a smidgen, and gained a morsel of independence. She was fitting in nicely. She had become a cheerleader, snagged a small part in the fall drama production, and had gone on a few dates, but just wanted to have fun, like all girls in 1983.
She was so busy tra-la-la-ing all over the campus of Small Town College in her red slouch boots that she sometimes failed to notice things in her peripheral vision. Even when it was the presence of “The One”.
Part of this social wing-spreading included an active Greek life, of which she was not a part; but she hung out on the fringe of the events, as they usually involved free booze served in a trash barrel. One such event was a fraternity sponsored bonfire. The college was so small, boasting only about 900 students total, most of them were there, Greek or no.
Held on a crisp autumn evening, the huge blaze, surrounded by excited youth, gave an orange glow to the charcoal colored sky. As is the case with many societal herding parties of co-eds and big men on campus, all the girls were on one side of the conflagration, the boys on the other. While that defeats the purpose of “meeting new people” , it does lend itself to much ogling of the available candidates for mating, long-term or otherwise.
There simply for the fun of it, the girl was completely unaware that this adolescent rite of passage would completely alter the course of her life. This was to be the seminal event that would determine her future, and that of one very special boy standing on the other side of the raging inferno.
The checkered Vans said it all. I’m cool without trying. I don’t need your bullshit. Listen up Izod, if I had a polo, which I don’t, I certainly wouldn’t wear my collar up. I wouldn’t wear it with a Member’s Only jacket either. Another thing I don’t have and don’t want. The boy really didn’t want to be here. This was stupid. He had no plans to join a frat, they were all such douchebags. His free time was better spent hanging out with his real friends. The same friends who suggested that they come to this lame bonfire. He rolled his eyes as he re-thought those bonds of friendship.
They usually did wilder stuff, but he never got into real trouble; always made it to class, always got to work on time. He was just one of the guys – a nice life for a man of 18. Gregarious, fun-loving, at least a head taller than most, he was well liked, and didn’t let on that he was smarter than the majority of his pals. The girls here sure were dumb, most obsessed with their hair and how many flavors of Lip Smackers they could cram into one shiny oversized purse. Barf.
The blow dried hair waving in the wind, the pink polo shirts, madras shorts and boaters were enough to make him want to hurl. He was about ready to leave when one of his friends elbowed him in the ribs. ”Dude! That girl is looking at you!”
Really? What girl? There must be at least 300 girls over there, and it’s dark. You’re so full of shit.
Then he saw her. Yes, there were at least 300 girls there, but as he scanned the crowd, he only saw one looking directly at him. And not just looking, staring. She was staring at him. She appeared to be in a trance of some kind, because she didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was staring when their eyes met. This was a very odd feeling. He had seen this girl before. This was that spaz who lived in his dorm. The one who was wearing those stupid red boots every time he saw her. She didn’t even care when they didn’t match what she was wearing. A smile parted his lips. She was actually pretty cute.
Omigawd! Like, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I stop staring at that boy? I can’t take my eyes off of him! He’s so far away I can’t even tell if he’s cute. That Army jacket is so cool…no it’s not…. and he’s like, totally too tall for me. I feel like such a loser. He’s laughing. He’s laughing with his entire body. Is he laughing at me?! What is that weird bendy thing he’s doing? Omigod, omigod, omigod, look at those dimples. ****Heavy sigh****** I’m doomed.
The world around them seemed to melt away. The girl stared unflinchingly at the boy, despite her desire to look away, while he, uncomfortable yet strangely thrilled with the attention, was much cooler about the whole affair. He continued to talk with his friends, only glancing at the girl in passing, afraid to meet her eyes again. He hoped that maybe, just maybe, the reflection of the flames in the lenses of his aviator style glasses would hide the looks he stole.
What should he do now? He wanted to talk to her. he needed to talk to her. Whatever it was may have hit her first, but the grip on the boy was definitely just as powerful. She obviously “liked him” liked him, but what next? Eventually, the crowd broke up. She went her way, and he went his.
Back in his dorm room, the boy ignored his roommate and he couldn’t sleep. He was deep in thought. He knew that girl was under the same roof, across the building, probably brushing her teeth and slipping into baby doll pajamas and having a pillow fight with her equally hot roommate…CUT IT OUT! Go to sleep already.
The girl was not having a hot, soft core pillow fight with her roommate. She was in her bed, hiding under the covers, wishing she could dig a hole so deep that no one would ever find her. She was shocked and stunned. She had dated her share of boys, but she had never, ever, been completely overtaken against her will by an attraction so visceral, so primal, so urgent. In fact, she couldn’t remember a time where she had used the words visceral or primal in a sentence.
She had never seen this boy before, didn’t know what dorm he lived in…didn’t even know if he went to Small Town College. Her heart was starting to break for fear she might never see him again, never even find out his name. Or worse, she would see him tomorrow and he and his friends would point and laugh at the Madonna Wannabe and her unrequited crush. Was her life really over? Fer sher.