One Reply to “12.7.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Henry could solve complex mathematical puzzles in his head and hold impossibly long numbers in memory and his teachers called him book smart and the cleverest student in school. And all of that came easy. But girls were a mystery to him. There was no logic to them, he thought. And there was one girl that he noticed more than the rest.

    He thought Belinda was pretty, and he could not breathe if she stood close to him. And when she said his name, or asked him a question, he lost all his words. That’s what it felt like. He wanted to ask her out and he rehearsed what he would say, going over and over the script in front of a mirror. But it took her to ask him.

    Belinda took him dancing, or he took her. And he was braver for the beers he drank and he held her close enough they touched and she kissed his cheek and laughed and she said she was glad he’d asked her; and Henry began to think that he had. And when he walked her home, in the streetlight dark, they kissed in the shadows of shop doors and she took his hand and put it under her dress and the night was breathless.

    She was the first girl Henry ever loved, and the only, and she said she loved him and it did not make sense. Not to him. And his teachers warned him against distractions and they said he had the potential to really be something but he must keep his focus. Henry said he understood and he stayed late at school and he put in the hours they said he should.

    But Belinda was waiting for him and when he came out she gave him her best smile and she took his hand and they went to her place. She told him her parents were out. It seemed to mean something, but Henry wasn’t sure. She smelled of flowers and there was music playing and the curtains in her room were closed. He did not really know what he was doing, but then he did.

    It became a regular thing and they took risks and they did it in school once, in a cupboard, standing beside brooms and mops, and bottles that smelled of lemons; and in the cinema toilets instead of watching the movie; and in the park, on the grass that said ‘keep off’, and it was raining that night and thunder and lightning so that her skin flashed silver.

    It was perfect. It was as perfect as it could be, and Henry thought he understood, and he did not know how it had been so difficult before. There was no future and no past; there was just the moment and now. That’s what he thought. His teachers shook their heads and they pointed to the errors in his working out and they asked him if there was something wrong in his life. That made no sense either. And he said things couldn’t be better.

    Then he saw Belinda one day and she was talking to someone else and there was something about the way she was playing with the ends of her hair and smiling, something Henry thought he recognized. And he asked her, when they were alone. Belinda said not to be silly and she said she was with him and that’s all that mattered. And he believed her. It was a trust thing, she said, and he said of course he trusted her, heart and soul.

    But then she was not waiting for him after school and Henry was suddenly lost, and he called at her home and her parents said she was out but they couldn’t say where. They said they’d thought Belinda was with him. He felt uneasy, as if something was seriously wrong, but he couldn’t say what. And Henry remembered the boy she’d been talking with before and he went to the boy’s house and Henry saw her there, saw them kissing on the front door step and the boy’s hand under her dress just where Henry’s hand had been before.

    It hit him hard.

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