Scout Days, a story by Willow Sanders
The parking lot of St. Mary’s had been a stream of trucks since first period. Fascinated, we watched as the home of the St. Mary’s Scouts football field transformed into a temporary residence for The Zipper, The Tilt-O-Whirl, and Funnel Cakes Sold Here!
I burst into my house, penny loafers kicked off mid–stride. The scuff that marred the wall- ignored. Blue plaid wool skirt and white pressed oxford damp with sweat—on the floor instead of the hamper. The Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper with its pink hearts and smiling unicorns tossed on the kitchen counter, the homework within tabled until after Labor Day.
The gates didn’t open until eight. As eighth graders, we sat at the summit of the St. Mary’s hierarchy. Our last year of grade school before high school. Tradition alone dictated we had to be first in line to buy our unlimited ride bands. We were, after all, the ruling class.
The money from watching the Miller brats, stashed in my cash box beneath the posters of Kirk Cameron before he found Jesus, and Corey Haim before he found heroin, paid my way.
Dep Scrunch in my spiral perm and a quick glance in the mirror confirmed there was no bologna in my braces. The pilfered makeup from my sister’s drawer in the pocket of my jeans guaranteed my weekend would be spent imprisoned within the four walls of my bedroom if my Mom saw me. The agreement had been mascara and lipgloss but not until my birthday. So the eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick I had hastily chosen would earn me a one-way ticket to grounding.
There was definitely no dating either. Not until I turned sixteen.
“Win a prize for the ladies!” the carnie called, “five dollars, five darts!”
Brian hit one balloon; he didn’t know I could hit all five. He won a plastic dog for me; its paint was already chipping off.
Sitting under the willow trees, making fun of his girly screams on the Rocket, morphed into too wet kisses from lips that tasted of Cherry Sno-Cone and cold fingers under cotton training bras. Relief when the squeaking of the dog toy distracted Brian from going further. I’d never been to second base before. As if the patron saint of squeaking dog toys had summoned her, Sister Francis appeared just as awkward limbs were returning to owner’s bodies.
“Mary, surely you had something less constricting, and certainly weather appropriate to wear.” The good Father asked on Tuesday morning when we returned to school.
The Catholics don’t bother with air conditioning. Sweat soaked hairlines, and flushed cheeks were a billboard to my attempts at covering the scarlet brand of my sin with a virtuous white cotton turtleneck.
Brian’s friends, possessing big mouths and an abundance of bravado enlightened the good Father into the reason for my obvious discomfort. My indecency was exchanged for kneelers and rosaries, lectures and calls to parents. I returned the toy to Brian. It was more befitting him anyway.
Copyright © 2016 by Melinda Borucki
Image in the public domain.