Saturday, July 7, 2012
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY, CYCLE 87: WHO DO YOU LOVE?
The prompt this time was my first one on F3. I’m really excited about being part of this site, both as one of its contributors and as one of its hosts. This time, I thought it would be interesting to write about a first crush, but take it a step further and reveal what happens when the crush is revealed. My story is about a couple of kids. Ah, young love… Please enjoy.
I have loved Sarah Jean since First Grade. I couldn’t always get put in a desk next to her, but I made sure I at least got put in the same row. At lunch, I always shared whatever dessert my Mama packed for me. At recess, when the girls were playing jacks, I made sure I was playing catch or climbing on the monkey bars--something that involved some kind of skill. I’d catch Sarah Jean glancing my way and smiling, so she knew how strong and smart I was.
Our house was a couple of blocks away from Sarah Jean’s. I followed her to and from school, even though it would have been shorter just to go to the corner of Maple and Fifth and take a left. But, I wanted to make sure she was safe since she always walked by herself. Her house was a lot bigger and fancier than ours, but people said that was because her Daddy got killed by somebody and left her Mama lots of money. I wish we could have a bigger house so I wouldn’t have to share my room with my little brother, Bobby, but I don’t want my Daddy to be killed for it. When I grow up and marry Sarah Jean, I’ll make sure we have a great big house so Bobby and I can each have our own room there.
From First Grade through Fifth, I never told Sarah Jean how much I loved her. Since I was only a kid, I couldn’t do that. But, now that I’m in the Sixth Grade, I can tell her and officially be her boyfriend. That way, everyone else will know too, and Josh Miller will stop buying her chocolate milk from the machine in the cafeteria. I can’t believe she lets him do that after all we’ve been to each other, but then again, it is chocolate milk, so I can’t really hold that against her.
Before I tell her about my feelings, I’m going to show her the surprise I made for her. I’ve heard her talking to some of the girls in class about a new charm bracelet they have at Madison’s Department Store in town. She said it comes with five animal shaped charms and you can buy extra ones for $1.00 each to add to it. Sarah Jean’s telling them how much she wants one, with an extra five charms to make it an even ten. Wait until she sees my surprise. It’s way better than any old animal shaped charm bracelet. I can’t wait until the final bell because today is the day Sarah Jean becomes mine forever.
We got lots of homework from Mrs. Greene today, but that’s okay. School is done and I told Mama and Daddy I would be late because I was going to help with a class project. They said to be home by supper. That will give me plenty of time to get to Parkman’s Woods and escort my new girlfriend home. Plenty of time.
“Sarah Jean,” I felt like my mouth was full of peanut butter. I wondered if that was how it felt when you told someone you loved them for the very first time. “would you take a walk with me over to Parkman’s? I have a surprise for you, a present.”
Sarah Jean gave me the biggest smile. I got scared for a second that I would faint. Please, God, if I have to faint, let it be when I get to my own yard. Please don’t let me faint here in the schoolyard, right in front of the woman I love.
“A present?” she said in that soft, little bird voice of hers. “I love presents. But, why do we have to go to Parkman’s? We aren’t going in too deep, are we? I heard there’s bears deep in those woods.”
I told her not to be scared because I would protect her. I really hoped one wouldn’t though since I had already seen one early this morning when I was there getting her surprise ready. While I was up on the branch hard at work, a big one came sniffing around. It looked up at me for a minute and then just kept moving. When I was done, I ran home faster than I’ve ever run before and I was so happy my Mama and Daddy were still asleep, so I wouldn’t have to explain why I had peed my jeans. I buried them at the bottom of the dirty clothes pile, put my PJs back on, and got under the covers. Mission accomplished.
I don’t know what I would have done if that bear had decided to climb up to me. All I had with me was my pen knife. I’ve got my slingshot with me now; although, I really don’t think it will do me much good. I’ve heard you can’t outrun them either, so I guess I’d have to tell Sarah Jean to run and I’d stay and let it take me because I love her so much. I hope it doesn’t come to that though. I mean, I’d like to go to New York City at least once before I die.
“We don’t have to go in too deep, Sarah Jean,” I reassured her. “Just in a couple of minutes’ worth and then I’ll show you your present.”
She started to walk toward the woods and I followed her. I wasn’t sure if I should take her hand, but decided against it. It wouldn’t be proper until she’s my official girlfriend. I told her we were going to enter the woods by the mile marker sign a block from my house. She said okay and told me to hurry because she wanted her present. This is going to be so great.
We walked in straight behind the sign for a count of 150 because that’s how I did it this morning, and we ended up at the very tree that had my surprise on it. I started to climb to the top branch.
“Where are you going?” Sarah Jean sounded kind of angry, but I know it’s because she didn’t know what was coming.
“You’ll see, Sarah Jean,” I told her. “Wait until I get to the top.”
I got to my branch and moved away from the trunk onto it. It felt a bit more shaky than it had this morning, but I wasn’t worried. Everything was going to be perfect from this moment on. I called down to Sarah Jean and pointed at the trunk.
“Sarah Jean, see what I’ve done? I climbed up here early this morning and carved both our initials inside a heart on this tree because I love you. This symbol of our love will be here forever. Isn’t that terrific? Now, we can be boyfriend and girlfriend.”
Sarah Jean didn’t say anything right way. I figured she was overwhelmed with emotion. It’s not every day someone does something that spectacular.
“You did what?” She sounded angrier this time. “You carved our initials in a tree? What kind of present is that?”
Sarah Jean started back toward the road. I knew it was probably too much at one time, so I decided to let it sink in gradually. As I started to move toward the trunk to climb down, I felt the branch snap and I fell hard. I hadn’t realized how high up I had been until I realized I had broken both my ankles, or sprained them both really bad, since I couldn’t stand.
“Sarah Jean? I fell. Could you come back and help me?”
My love came right back, just as I knew she would.
“Sarah Jean, could you go to my house and tell my Daddy where I am and what happened, and that I can‘t walk? We can wait on the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. A permanent record of our love maybe was a bit too much right now, but we can take it slower if you want.”
Sarah Jean smiled, and I knew all was right with the world again. She started completely covering me up with leaves--so I wouldn’t catch a chill, I’m sure, and went on her way. I thought I heard her say something about a charm bracelet, but I didn’t catch it all. I’m sure she said this was way better.
My ankles really hurt, but I’m a man now, so I can take it. I’m going to be in big trouble with Mama and Daddy for being in the woods, but Sarah Jean’s worth it. Was that a growl I just heard? I’m going to pull more leaves over me just in case that bear comes along. That way, he won’t see me.
I’m sure Sarah Jean’s at my house right now telling my Daddy to come get me. I hope it’s soon. I’m getting hungry and it’s starting to get dark…