7/29/2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Joel Meyerowitz
Photo by Joel Meyerowitz

July 29, 2015: She called him Baby.

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One thought on “7/29/2015 Journal Prompt

  1. I am sure he did. Just now, and just throw-away. He called me ‘baby’ and it is what any boy or man would say if he saw a girl in a yellow bikini – or if the boy or man would not say it, then he would think it at least. And he called me ‘baby’ and he said ‘hi’ and ‘call me’ he said – not those actual words, not even all those words, but with his eyes he said that, eyes that lingered a while, and his lips making sucking and blowing kiss shapes out of air.

    As I walk away I am already dissecting what happened and I’m sure he said ‘baby’, and I smiled and made a noise that was somewhere between a laugh and a choke, the noise that a cat makes when it coughs and there is a hairball to dislodge in that cough. And I walked away wavy – boys like that, and boys that are nearly men like it, too, and men all the way up to old, well, they send whistles after you if you walk like that. And walking that way in a pink bikini, I could hear him holding his breath and could feel his eyes following me up off the beach.

    Momma wanted to know if I was alright. ‘Back so soon?’ she said. ‘Why, if I looked like you in a swimsuit, Bebe, well I wouldn’t be hiding in no house with the curtains drawn.’

    Momma’s always saying stuff like that – what she wouldn’t give to be seventeen again, and her hair like mine, soft and easy and all the colours of the straw or late summer field grass before it is cut. And making remarks about my figure – the flat of my stomach and the sit-up-and-pay-attention of my breasts and the ‘touch me’of my bottom.

    I tell her to stop now.

    ‘Summer don’t last forever,’ she said. ‘trust me, I’m old enough I understand.’

    And I know what’s coming next, sure as tides and sunsets, which is the story of a boy called Ezra and I am not to tell my dad the story. And I don’t want to know about an Ezra, pretty as puppies all rolled up in a ball, kissing my momma and calling her ‘kitten’ and running his fingers up her calf and up the inside of her knee.

    ‘That was the summer of ’76 and there aint been a summer to match it since. And maybe this is all we’ll get this year, this one day of blue hurting sky and the sun so hot it’s melting the road and if you look the world is like it’s dissolving and is no longer solid but is made of air.’

    And I’m sure it was baby and not Bebe that he said – a small difference, but all the difference. And I am sure he called me ‘baby’ and I just walked away – walking wavy, at least, but walking away all the same. And I climb the stairs to my room, leaving my momma all flushed with the memory of Ezra and his hand between her legs. And I shut the door and lock it, and I stand in front of the mirror, looking at the girl momma says she was once and not believing that she ever did. And I say in whispers that are so quiet they have breath and no sound at all, saying over and over, ‘baby, baby, baby’.

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