The Lake (7)

May 18, 2020

My Michelle … Not My Shining Moment

The end came at The Shining, of all movies, at an old theater on Clark Street. You, Michelle and your best friend, Omar had entered the theater just as a big storm erupted outside. Omar sat to her left you to her right. During a particularly gruesome scene –the dead crone in the bathtub- there was a crash of thunder, loud enough to be heard over the chilling soundtrack. The power failed and worse pieces of the old movie house’s ornate decorations began falling from the ceiling. Many in the audience, already frightened by what they’d witnessed on the screen, started hollering and scrambling for the exits. You were one of them. Without thinking, you climbed right over your date, literally stepping on her to escape.

It was a cowardly move, one you did without hesitation.

By the time Michelle and Omar had met up with you in the lobby, order was restored. Not so much with Michelle. She was pissed. And you couldn’t blame her. The three of you then went to dinner, which was awful. Nothing you could say, not after what had happened. Omar did little to defend you. Without panicking, he’d stayed by her side in the theater and he sat by her now, stoically. When the dinner mercifully ended, Michelle bolted in a taxi. You forget her parting words. Omar hung with you for a while, providing scant commiseration. But soon, he too, quickly departed.

Later, you found out the two of them had rendezvoused that very evening. They started seeing each other and that was that. By your own hand you’d voided the code among friends regarding one-another’s girlfriends. You’d forgotten an even older code: women and children first. While you resented Omar for betraying your friendship and taking advantage of the situation you accepted it as penance for your shameful behavior. You’d put yourself before her and so lost her. You broke your own heart. That your good friend became beneficiary only made it worse.

Still, a part of you had been relieved. Michelle would dump Omar soon enough. That was certain. Orbiting her hot sun, always vying for the light, had taken its toll. Getting burned was inevitable.

Next Chapter Coming Soon!

The Lake (6)

May 14, 2020

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My Michelle

Her amazing body was all the ID she needed. But you were 16 years old and looked it, despite the balloon pants, tight shirt and shiny shoes she’d seduced you into wearing. She liked them on you and for her you would look stupid. Sometimes the bouncers let you in as a “favor” to Michelle. More often they did not. Either way you felt belittled. Frankly, getting in was even worse. You hated the music. And you especially hated watching all the men, twice your age, ogling Michelle at every turn.

In the beginning, Michelle had been okay simply hanging out and getting high or going to the movies but such adolescent activities clearly bored her. She was beyond it. You began stressing out over how to keep her interested in you. But with little money and less experience you had few options.

Trying to repeat the magic of that glorious afternoon you took Michelle to the lake. This time Rex was all over her, and short of getting into his car she did nothing to stop him. The other girls resented Michelle’s presence, disdaining her company, shunning her. Michelle gave two shits about them. She knew jealousy when she saw it. You were the monkey in the middle. You could not play the alpha male even if you tried.

To be continued…

The Lake (5)

May 11, 2020

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My Michelle

It was as if the two of you were co-starring in a divinely written play, a pairing far removed from the inglorious hook ups taking place in the muscle cars behind you. You didn’t know if you were being watched and to your delight you didn’t care. Rex and his ilk did not matter. Michelle would remain your fantastic secret for as long as possible, that day anyway.

You walked with Michelle, holding hands, which for once did not feel strange, and arrived at an empty apartment she said belonged to her mother. Inside it was cool and dark. She left the shades down and led you into her bedroom.

To recite what transpired there would require a poet’s gift, lest it sound obscene. The two of you swallowed each other whole. Satiated, her head resting on your chest, you both drifted into a deep sleep. You didn’t know it then but this would be the only time you would ever fall asleep in a woman’s embrace.

Like a pristine bubble dangling precariously from a child’s wand, it would not last. The nirvana of that afternoon did not follow either of you into the relationship. Michelle revealed herself to be insecure and vain. All too aware of her exceptional physique and its effect on men, she vacillated between flaunting herself and retreating into a pouty shell. She liked dancing and disco music and the culture surrounding it: the clothes, nightclubs, older men, black men – all of which made you uncomfortable.

To be continued…

The Lake (4)

May 6, 2020

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My Michelle

Nearly 40 years have passed since that druggy July afternoon and you can still remember the details vividly. Not just her body but everything on it: her pink velour running shorts, the canary yellow tube top, a stretchy headband, reflective aviators.

You do not rise. Michelle sits down on the grass beside you. Tiny beads of perspiration dot her upper lip. When she smiles a rivulet forms on her flushed cheek. You watch the droplet encroach places you would kiss.

“I know you from the neighborhood,” she says. “I knew I would find you here.”

That didn’t make sense. You’d never seen this girl before in your life, save for in your dreams. How did she know you? You don’t ask. A gift like this you receive without questions.

While you remember particulars from that day at the lake, the vision of Michelle, the strange miracle of her coming to you, it would be disingenuous to reiterate the dialog you shared. As if under the rapture of Psilocybin, you only know the conversation flowed like a clear stream over smooth rocks – the actual words as elusive as silvery trout slipping in and out of the sunshine.

To be continued…

The Lake (3)

May 4, 2020

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My Michelle

A little drunk and high, you welcomed in the fantasy, letting it take over. Chicks like her were beyond anything slinking around the parking lot. You eyed her like a sniper. Ogling. Yet there was something else. A connection. Like she knew you were watching her. You imagined her coming toward you and somehow you knew that she would.

And sure enough.

As in the curious turn of a dream she herself turned and began loping across the grass in your very direction. It was almost as if you were reeling her in. Or was it the other way around? You felt simultaneously powerless and fearless, a strange alchemy, like during an acid trip. But she was no hallucination. When she approached you, you remained fixed to the ground, fixating on her.

“Hi,” she said. “I noticed you from the bike path. I’m Michelle.”

She noticed me? This revelation should have made you swoon. Yes your heart was palpitating. Your eyes wide open taking in the breadth of her. But absent was the panic. You were infatuated. Desiring her. Yet, you were inexplicably… cool.

“I saw you, too.” You reply. How could anyone not have?

To be continued…