Location: marengo, il, United States

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Illicit Desires

The house arrived one day unannounced. A truck must have surely delivered it. I got home after school, and there the place sat; complete, spotless, tan in color and brand-new. Finished. Ready to move in. Looking totally done, except for the surrounding yard. Deep ruts of a delivery vehicle told the whole story, but green grass was to never grow in the dirt across the street.

Strange, but the lady who owned place and I had already met. A school chum came along to show off his large array of action figures during recess one day. My sixth-grade eyes went wide at the sight of his collection. Magnificent and glorious, they were just what I thought I needed to make life worthwhile, so I asked him a favor.

You can get your own, he coldly told me, after I had begged for just a few of the characters, but then he mentioned the name of the store where they had come from, so I relaxed and made plans.

Then less than twenty minutes after class ended on that hot Texas afternoon, I walked the air-conditioned aisle of the drugstore on the town square, my pockets overloaded with plastic heroes, and quietly hurried out of the place without paying for a single one.

I could hardly wait to get home, for no one would be around for awhile. I barely remember the short journey itself, but I do recall thinking up all sorts of adventurous plots along the way. I dreamed of several scenes involving each and every character as I raced down one sidewalk after another. Heroic rescues. Dashing fights. Mad chases, which, of course, all ended victorious, except for the hapless pair of villains I had chosen to steal.

As soon as I got inside the front door, I ran to my room, pulling out figurines as I went. Twenty minutes later, while lost in reverie, a soft voice behind me spoke up. It belonged to my momma.

“Where did you get those?”

She sounded so interested.

“A kid at school loaned them.”

Like most moms, mine loved me dearly. But when the woman went mad, she hissed through clenched teeth to get your attention. It was one effective ploy.

“You march yourself down to the drug store this instant!”

Two years went by before the house cropped up across the street. I sat on my front steps that afternoon, checking one of my dogs for ticks while watching the going-ons. Two people walked around the perimeter; one a portly man and the other, a thin blonde woman. Both spoke and gestured to each other, seeming to be in agreement. Lady jerked and barked just before she ran off. It was then that I recognized the woman across the street. She worked at the drugstore down on the square.

I was soon to abandon childish ideas of theft, however; this lady had a daughter just a year older than me.

I think I should stop now and give the girl a call, just to see if she remembers.


Blogger Harry said...

Crap. What a bad idea. I got to talk to a Faye (the current wife of the man who married the girl in the story); turns out she died three years ago. Sometimes life sucks.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Most of the time, life sucks. Once and awhile, it smugly gets better, only to go right back to sucking.

Great story. I really like learning things about my ancestors.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

But it's better to know, isn't it? Thing is, she lives forever in your memory; it's just that now you know the end of the story too. And your post is a fitting reminder of something that does not go away, at least until your story ends too. You pass on this slice of knowledge and some of us will carry it too.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

There are people who, for some period in our lives, are part of everyday life and routine. Then as we move on from childhood to adulthood, change jobs and addresses, the thought "I should call so-and-so" goes from constantly nagging to rarely occurring. We lose touch with once-close friends, but as Gone said, they are forever young in our memories though we age.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I still love Linda. And I am glad you got to know just a taste.

7:17 PM  

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