In the spirit of practicing what I preach, here was yesterday’s first warm-up writing. This, and the 19 to follow, are obviously rough drafts that may or may not find their way down Revision Lane someday…
Day 1 – A first
This was a first that speaks to my nervousness around the opposite sex. I had to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 or 12 at most. I know I was still in elementary school. My mom took us to either King’s Island or Cedar Point for a day about once a year. We have some family in Ohio, and we must have made a weekend out of it–not entirely sure. Anyway, my older brother was either on his own or with a friend that summer day at the park, so I was left with my mom. We were in line for a ride I called The Octopus. That may very well have been its name, but I distinctly recall this multi-legged ride with spinning cars at each end to be white with red stripes.
I can remember thinking it would be fun to ride this ride with my brother and not with my mom. I sensed that she was pretty much over riding rides at this point in the day and her life, so I probably said something like how I didn’t want to ride the stupid Octopus. Whatever I said was typically ignored or not met with adult conflict. No. My mom looks around and sees a girl about my height who is standing alone a few inches behind us.
“Young lady, would you like to take my place and ride with my son?”
She clearly had not been asked such a question in her life. Her gaping mouth suggested that no one had even ever referred to her as a young lady.
By this time we were being rushed forward toward the entrance gate to the ride. The guys operating that day couldn’t have known I’d just met this girl seconds earlier when my mom accosted her in line. Later, I remember looking down from my vantagepoint and seeing my mom’s cryptic grin–something that, then, made me think she was pleased by seeing her baby grow up. Nope. It was definitely because she got me in the end for back-talking her.
The girl was as forgettable as this tiny memoir. She had long skinny legs and our knees touched once or twice as the motion of the mid-air car swayed us around. I’m sure I didn’t talk to her. I told the story several times at school the following year and probably even wrote about it then.
It’s well over twenty years later, and I can still see those bare skinny knees and my mom’s devilish grin a few dozen yards below me.