markwildyr.com, Post #125
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Total change of pace this week. Let’s go back to some adolescent memories and see what we can stir up. Hope the following story does it for you.
“It’s just me’n you, Luther.”
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a gallon-full of times. Heck, an oil drum-full of times. But when I say it in front of Mom, she comes right back at me.
“I’ll swear, Robert, I’ve taught you better than that.” She’s always promising to swear but never does. “That’s lazy speech on two fronts. It is ‘you and I,’ as you well know. I is a nominative pronoun, which can be the subject of a sentence. Me is an objective and can’t.”
“Yes, ma’am. I know. It’s I and you, But tha—”
“And that is your second problem. Grammar courtesy requires you put the other person first. So that would mean…”
“It’s just you and I, Luther.”
Can you tell my mom’s a schoolteacher?
Anyway, once we got out of earshot, I reverted to being me. But Mom was wrong about one thing. I don’t say ‘me’n you’ because I don’t know how to speak properly. I say it because it says what I mean. “Me’n you,” makes us a team. “You and I” makes us two twerps looking down our noses at the rest of the world.
And down where it count’s that’s what I want me’n Luther to be. A team. A pair. Buddies. Bros. And something else that I can’t quite get my head around. Heck, I want to be Luther Groveside. Or at least be with him.
That last one sets off all kinds of bells. Some sing the pure melody of silver chimes; others, an exciting, almost discordant note that seems to promise something to come. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it is.
“Come on, Robbie, get your fourteen-year-old butt moving,” he called, ignoring the helmet secured to his rear rack as he straddled his bike.
He likes to mention my age because he’s a year older. I remind him that someday, that age difference will bite the other way, but he just comes back with something like he should live so long.
I hopped on and took out after him, watching the wind catch his dark hair and play with it. He was already filling out while I remained a stick figure. I’ll swear his shoulders were wider this morning than they were last week. His waist wasn’t any bigger than mine, and I’m practically a scarecrow. And his butt….
I tore my gaze back to the roadway. Why would I notice his butt? Dunno, but that’s the way it was. I peddled like crazy and pulled up beside him.
“We going swimming?” I yelled.
“Not much point going to the creek if we don’t.”
We were headed for a swimming hole we sometimes shared with water moccasins to go skinny-dipping. We’d rigged up a rope to an overhanging tree branch so we could swing out over the water and let go. I liked to swim, but I didn’t like the water moccasins. But I couldn’t let my fear show. What’s a snake bite compared to losing your friends?
I was steaming from the six-mile, mostly uphill ride by the time we got to the creek. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky for the sun to hide behind. And the southeastern Oklahoma sun was pretty stout this time of year.
I’d been half-hoping we’d meet some of the kids here, but there wasn’t another soul around. One side of me said that was great because it’d just be me’n Luther. But the other side sorta wished half a dozen guys were splashing around in the water to chase off the water moccasins.
We stripped and hit the water, me swinging from the rope and him in a headlong dive. Before long, I forgot all about snakes—poisonous or otherwise—while we raced one another, dunked one another and engaged in general horseplay. When we’d had enough of that, we climbed up on shore to spread out our clothes in the shade of a big water oak. As we lay side by side, I tried to look at him without showing it, his voice surprised me.
“When you gonna start filling out, Robby?”
I shrugged, making my neck crack. “When it’s time, I guess. Or maybe I’ll just stay skinny all my life.” The fact he’d taken a look at me made me bold. “You’re filling out real good. But then, you’re a year older’n me.” In for a penny…. “Maybe next year I’ll have a beaver as thick as yours.”
He snickered “A beaver? What are you talking about?”
“You know, your hair down there.” My neck got tense as I realized I’d pulled a boner.
Luther laughed out loud, a good sound even if he was laughing at me. “Beaver’s what you call it on a girl. On a guy, it’s a bush.” He laughed again. Thank goodness he wasn’t looking at me, my face burned like it was beet red. “You like my bush?” he asked.
I swallowed hard. “Yeah, you know, shows you’re growing up.”
“Hell, you’ve got one too. Sorta.”
“Yeah, but I’m a blond. It doesn’t show much.”
He came up on an elbow and eyeballed me. “Yeah, it’s there okay. And it’ll get thicker.” He flicked me with a finger. “And that’ll get bigger too.”
“Y-yours sure has. Uh!” A hand flew to my neck.
“What’s the matter? You getting a crick in the neck again?”
“Yeah. I guess,” I said, rubbing my bony spine hard. He knew that happened sometimes, but I don’t believe he realized it mostly happened when I was tense. And wow, was I tense.
“Get up,” he said, rising to his feet.
I struggled up and stood as he moved behind me. A trillion times Luther’d done this maneuver where he put his hands under my armpits and clasped them at the back of my neck. Then he’d jerk me off my feet, my neck would crack, and I’d be all right.
But this time he’d forgotten we were naked—or maybe he didn’t care—but when he yanked me off my feet and pulled me back against his broad chest and I felt his groin caress my buttocks, everything fell into place.
I knew what those discordant bells were. I knew they meant something else was coming. I understood the meaning of “to be with Luther.” As he released me, my hands found his thighs.
“What’re you doing?” he yelped and staggered backward.
“Got dizzy,” I said.
He moved back to my side. “You okay now?”
“Yeah. I’m okay. I’m better’n okay.”
“Good.” He started pulling on his clothes. “I gotta tend the garden after the sun goes down, so I guess we better start back.”
He paused with his denims halfway up his bronzed legs. “Huh?”
My grin about split my lips. “It’s me’n you, right?”
He flashed a smile in return. “Right, Robby. “You’n me.”
He didn’t know it yet, but that’s how it would be. Now that I knew what I wanted, I’d figure out a way to get it. Didn’t know how or when, but that’s the way it was gonna be.
Isn’t nostalgia a powerful thing?
I don’t know about you, but there’s no doubt in my mind that when Robby judges the time is right, he’ll make a successful move. Probably when he’s around eighteen. Maybe just before the two buddies take off to college somewhere.
We will now return to our regularly scheduled program (1st and 3rd Thursdays).
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month.