My intentions lately have been leaning in a different direction; I now find myself thinking about my teacher all day long. I guess I have a teacher crush. I never had one of these at St. Augustine’s… TRUST ME.
With Ms Debby in my head so much, I think less about Maureen, partially because I’m sure she is getting buttered up by Jimmy. But also because Ms Debby, my English teacher, is becoming my new best friend. I daydream of her when I am not daydreaming of MGM. I share my exploits and pictures with her during nutrition break… like a Peacock showing off his ploom of feathers.
I’m not sure why, but I’m purposly trying to avoid Maureen in the school hallways and on the walk to and from school. I even take a different street sometimes. I’m not sure what to say to her but something will probably come to me whenever that moment strikes.
Dong Dong Dong… the school bell rings 3 times to signal the end of the day. I walk fast, almost running, so as to miss everyone, including her. But, as fate would have it, our paths intersect. I’m ten houses from my home, but it might as well be a mile. We practically bump into each other: “Hey, how ’bout jumping the fence today? I don’t have any homework!” she asks.
“Sure let’s Go!”… Well that was easy, I think to myself, as I awkwardly stumble. to buy some extra time.
The sky is turning black and the radio says that rain is on the way. In case you were wondering, I always have an AM/FM radio for ball games and rock and roll. I’m wearing the Led Zeppelin III cover stenciled on my sweatshirt. Plant and Page have long wild hair, pictured on my back.
Rather than go home, we hang a right towards Lot 2. Just as we get to the fence where the train tracks enter Lot 2, the rain starts to come down. Maureen climbs first as the gentlemen in me offers her a boost. Quickly, we are both inside and take cover in a pullman train. The same compartment Warren Beatty and Jack Nicolson were sitting in just a few months ago. We sit across from each other in old weathered, reclining train seats. We are dripping all over them. A white ruffled curtain frames the rusty old train window to our side. I peel it back to get a blurry look at the monsoon outside.
The rain makes a deafening sound atop the metal train roof as I try to pull the window shut. We can hear each other now and she asks me a question that I was not expecting. “There are rumors going around school about you and Debby.” She stares deep with her penetrating blue eyes as I pull my long wet hair backwards. I pretend to be fascinated with the wild jets of water which are now freewheeling across our little rusty window.
I muster a response: “Like what?”
She elaborates, “You stay after school together and have been seen at lunchtime and nutrition hanging out. It’s the buzz around campus!”…she says with a sour smile.
“Who wants to hang out with a bunch of silly kids?” I finally vent a thought. “She is a teacher and I sometimes need to make up assignments that I miss while hanging out at the studios… is all.” I pat myself on the shoulder. She looks at me a bit confused, as I turn the table on her, “So, what about you and Jimmy?… Must be nice to listen to music and go to the drive-in theater in a car, instead of a bicycle?”
I continue before she has a chance to respond, “How was Young Frankenstein? Jimmy said you went together!”
I feign patience as I listen to her lame response, but my jittery foot, which is tapping against the foot of the chair, gives me away. I interrupt, “We both watched it being filmed, right here, right outside this train window, together, me and you… Gene Wilder kissed Madelin Kahn a farewell, right here! I point for emphasis, at the sentimental spot. “We were here for everything. We were here for The Fortune, we were here for The Apes—they ran down this isle, right here. We talked to Roddy Mcdowell over there.” At this point, my hand gestures have become grandiose. I squeeze out my concluding statement, “all this… just in the last few months.”
I suppose I was trying to make her see that there’s a suitable protocol here, and doggone it I’ve put in my time, I made the effort, I did all the right things… It’s a bit like a studio investing in an actor, and making sure he’s taken care of and happy and part of the crew… and then he goes with another studio! She can’t go with somebody else! Especially not Jimmy!
I continued presenting my case, “We even have our own two story caretaker house with working utilities that we can kick back in, anytime we feel like it, and I was going to surprise you with a TV.” And just to make sure she knows what she’s missing out on, I add, “with two rabbit ear antennas attached.” I continue, “to watch the Twilight Zone reruns, right here on the lot… no other kids at school have that!” I point toward the lot to substantiate my evidence.
“What more can I do for you?” I repeat! Then, loaded with passion, I say, “you get to see movies before they even make it to the theater,” as I spread my arms wide. I conclude my presentation with a flabbergasted expression.
The train window is a bit ajar. Water drips and pools around us. The lot seems quiet except for us!
“Jimmy and I walk sometimes, and he asked if he can take pictures of me for photography class; I think I’m going to say, ‘Yes!’ Young Frankenstien was great,” she continues, oblivious to my anxiety that is ramping up. “Jimmy invited me and heck, I wanted to see it, so.”
“I saw it, too, from up in a Euclyptus tree, with the speakers on full blast!” I’m clearly frustrated. “Now I know how Butch Cassidy feels, about Catharine Ross with Sundance Kid.” I look out the train window, as water pours off its curved roof like a waterfall cascading down. It’s like we’re arguing in a wet closet.
“Let’s go, it’s getting cold,” she states, so we exit the train and the platform. Large lake size puddles have turned these old railroad tracks into a big, muddy swamp land. I try to walk the steel rails while attempting to avoid getting my shoes full of water. Maureen walks behind me, as I realize there is mud mixed with the water that I can feel dripping down my neck. It feels like sea slugs are squirming down my back and into my shirt.
I turn back to see her playful smile with an evil look attached. I unsuccessfully try to duck under a handful of fresh sod. She wants to rumble.
The party’s on… instant karma.
I put a handful of mud right up against her nose. It sticks to her face in clumps, while the rest of it slides down her neck. She’s not so pretty anymore. I show no mercy, nor does she, as I use both my hands to one up her. She fights me off. Sexual frustration, anger, I’m not sure, but after looking at each other’s deteriorated state, we begin to laugh uncontrolably.
She shouts “Truce.” I comply.
We make our way out… shivering and looking like we just played tackle football. We can see her apartment, which overlooks this rumble. When we arrive at the entrance, she asks to be hosed off, before heading upstairs… It’s the least I can do, since I helped make this mess. After a high pressure nozzle blast, her pretty face reemerges.
She says “enough” but I pretend not to hear her as I enjoy hosing her… I do.
I finally stop, as I pull her wet hair back and kiss her one last time next to her laundry room. While walking home, just a short distance away, I stop and look back, thinking…
Who just broke up with who?
She has a crush on Jimmy, while I have a crush on a teacher… I feel like an adult who’s right on schedule to graduate, Jr High.
Written and lived by Donnie Norden
Edited by DQ