Hill in the Park — Chapter 1

IMG_1820My first kiss is another story. I mentioned my friend earlier that just happened to be the only girl my age on our block. She had found herself a boyfriend. I don’t know the details of how they started speaking but she had secured a time to meet him at a large park near our houses. Actually, closer to his house. He was too shy to show up alone and was going to bring a friend and asked that she bring someone along to meet his friend. I said that I could help out.

I think I gave it away at the beginning, but he was my first kiss. Man, could he kiss. We would lie on the grass in the park on the incline of a small hill. The type of small hill that is often created to keep balls from rolling too far out of the play area, for separating children from the parking lot and generally as a visual boundary of the edge of the park. A natural divider. We would lie on this and kiss. He had large soft lips, definitively unique to him. He kissed softly and it was all consuming.

This was also my first experience dealing with a short man. I apologize for the stereotype here, but this is something I experienced first hand. I needed to be forever vigilant not to say anything that in anyway could be considered a comment about height or size of anything. I certainly don’t think any less of Picard because of it.

But I digress; there were only two real events in this relationship. The first was when he presented me with a necklace as a symbol of our coupledom. This was a soft grey tin type of heart necklace that I believe was given away at carnivals. That sort of calibre. I wore it, green skin and all, continuously. I used to keep all of these mementos in a box together but they’ve become lost. I guess with 20 moves, things are going to get lost.

The other event was when we were together in my basement at home. We were in the rec room, which was a small room at the far end of the basement, lying on the couch enjoying real privacy for one of the first, and possibly only, times. My mother walked in.

I know that we were not doing anything wrong. No clothing had been removed. No inappropriate touching, just kissing. I don’t remember what happened or what was said. I know that we had had time to sit up because we could hear her coming down the hall, but it would’ve been obvious what we had been doing the moment before we became vertical.

All I remember was shame. I had been caught doing something wrong. My mother was mad. Of all of the lessons that I had learned from my mother, the one that I knew for sure was that it was never OK to have sex, especially before marriage. I don’t know what happened after this. I can’t even remember where this event occurred in the sequence of things in the relationship. I just remember that he told his friend he preferred some other girl and we fought about that and broke up.

After him there were two other significant relationships. The guy that helped me move when my mother moved out and the high school guy. The high school guy was a musician and he was the coolest guy I knew. He was neighbours with a friend of my sister and through some series of events I was introduced to him. Dating a guy from high school greatly changed my bully reputation from grade four.

I was dating an older guy. I have thick memories of the front of my Levis as we walked, with our arms around each other, down the street. The bell bottom of my jeans would rise up as I took a step and then fall slightly after my foot hit the pavement, completely covering my shoe and dragging so much on the sidewalk that the back of the pant leg was worn away. The jeans were pleasantly faded. Ironically, mine were the most in style because my parents only bought me one pair of jeans. Faded jeans were in fashion and I had the ones that were the most worn out. The fact that I needed to come home and repair them a few nights a week didn’t seem to factor into it very much.

The jeans were so old and worn out that they had started to form holes in the knees and beside the pockets on the bum. I used brown corduroy patches to cover the holes. I had originally bought the material for a jacket that I had made in Home Economics. At this time, grade seven and eight students attended either Home Economics or Shop. It was determined that these additional skills would be required when we became adults. With budget cutbacks and the recognition that this split was sexist, these classes went by the wayside. Shop was kept longer because it was considered more important. It was vital to have these sorts of skills in order to get employment. Who knew that we would soon be raising generations of children that did not know how to cook a proper meal much less do other domestic chores like sewing on a button?

The jacket had a fancy lapel and I accidentally cut the fabric in the wrong direction. I did not have enough material to cut a new lapel so I had to make due. This resulted in a tear that was apparent when the jacket was brand new. I do not know if I wore the jacket very much, but I do know that the chocolate brown corduroy looked fabulous next to the faded denim.

I remember necking, which is what we used to call it, with the high school guy. That amounted to lying on a coach making out with out having sex, more or less. My sister’s friend was on another couch with her fella, a friend of the guy that I was with, in the same room. ‘How far you would go’ was always a topic of discussion, but I had only heard rumours that some others were having sex.

As it turns out this boy had had sex with his previous girlfriend. She later became pregnant by a different guy, but my high school guy felt responsible because he had shown her how good sex could be and took responsibility for her predicament. She said no to his offer of marriage. I don’t know what she decided.

After that was the guy I would date for a few years. He was older and had a car. He was working building another refinery and making good money. Many of the boys left high school early recognizing that the chance to make good money was available and that they should take it.

These were my formative years when it came to romantic relationships. An eclectic mix of a boy I never really knew, a short guy preoccupied with his deficiencies, an artist and a nice guy that just wanted to get married right away.

There is a pair of doves that have come to stand in the rain gutter that I can see from my balcony. They were in the driveway earlier. The dove is sent to remind us of feminine peace and maternal instinct. Cool message when I’m writing about love and relationships.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Keep Reading: Point of No Return

www.wendypowell.ca

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