Henrietta Texas, 1959: When I was fifteen, my room was a garret built atop our house on Omega Street, and from my windows looking east, I saw her walking up the sidewalk.
Slowly, a stranger, a young girl perhaps fourteen, with dark hair and almond eyes, perhaps two blocks away. Well, I admit it. I had binoculars.
She looked about her as she walked, maybe seemed a little timid. A block before our house, she crossed Omega Street, and vanished from sight up the sidewalk behind the old Baptist Church. I knew every kid in town. I’d never seen her before.
But I was to see her again.
When school started, within a few days I’d learned her name — Linda — and she was absolutely beautiful.
But she was younger than me, a class younger, so I rarely saw her, and in my clumsiness never professed myself. Then, too, I fell in love with three or four other girls soon after.
But on a band trip to the Wichita Falls Swimming Pool, somebody brought a portable radio, and toward the end some of us danced in the gazebo. After a few words, Linda said yes.
Holding her in my arms, with her breasts soft against me, and the scent of her body so near … it was very, very difficult. Sweet and painful all at once.
The song on the radio was “Dream,” by Don and Phil Everly. Even now, hearing in memory the Everly Brother’s voices blending in harmony, I can feel again that longing and lust and sweetness and pain.
I never became involved with Linda. I had joined the school band, playing drums, having been completely inept at football and track. I was busy. I had things to do. There were girls in my own class. I couldn’t really flirt in the hall. She was just too young, just a kid.
And yet, so odd how a memory can persist. I recall the scent of her skin, the touch of her hair swaying gently against my throat, the soft and halting way she followed as we slow-danced together, turning round and round through the white-painted gazebo in the warm summer air, and the Everly Brothers harmony as they sang.
“I can make you mine, taste your lips of wine,
anytime, night or day …
Only trouble is, gee whiz,
I’m dreaming my life away …”
Dreams. They’re the stuff life is made of.
They’re the truth, the dreams.