A Moment Forever

By Rico Wallace

 happy young valentine

Carol put a stack of 45’s on the record player. Some of the group were doing The Twist. She turned the volume down. “I want to show you The Swim,” she said. “You do the front stroke, the half stroke, the backstroke and then the cannonball.” She pinched her nose and shimmied. Everyone dancing was smiling.

Vince asked her why the girls were drinking soda pop. “We got in trouble last week when Suzie got drunk and sick,” she said. “You guys are still fun.”

Vince went to the front porch for a cigarette. Tom came out with his sister Karen following. “Here’s a light,” Karen said. “I’ll go get you a beer.”

Vince took a drag of smoke. “Hey, great party, Tom,” he said. Tom looked into the dusk. “I want to tell you that Karen likes you,” he said. “I mean she seriously likes you. She’s crazy for you.” He patted Vince on the shoulder. “That’s surprising,” Vince said. “Don’t worry, I’ll be nice.”

Karen sat next to Vince. “Thanks for the beer, you’re sweet,” Vince said. She was staring at his face. “You’re nice too and cute,” she said. “I like your hair.” Vince grabbed a handful of her hair and gave it a little tug. “You’re pretty,” Vince said. “I like auburn hair, brown eyes and your little nose.” Karen moved closer. “I had a dream,” she said. “You took me away to a beach by the ocean. Then we were on a farm with some animals and children.”

Vince laughed. “Whose children were they,” he asked. Karen whispered in his ear, “I get my period,” she said. Vince rubbed her head. “Noth’in on top,” he said. Karen smiled and her eyes twinkled. “Did you ever see my Mom?”

“Hey, I have to get up early for work tomorrow,” Vince said. “Nice talking to you.” He walked through the passageway towards the backyard and alley taking his shortcut home. “Wait for me,” Karen said. She caught up with him in the dark passage and grabbed his hand. He turned and she hugged him, pulling his body in tight. She looked up and pressed her lips against his. They locked eyes and looked deeper. The world melted into darkness.

Suddenly, they were one spirit, in blissful harmony with the universe. Vince rubbed his nose against hers to break the spell. “Only Eskimo kisses for you,” he said. Karen licked his cheek. “C’mon, that’s enough, I got to go,” Vince said.

Out in the alley, he looked at the stars. “I think I just fell in love,” he said. A surge of adrenaline ran through his veins. He started to skip until he was going so fast he began to run and jump, stretching his arms and legs, soaring and floating through the air.“ I love that girl,” he thought. “I love her.”

The next day Vince was confused. “That didn’t happen last night,” he said. “She better not have any ideas.” He slammed his hand on the table. “She never should have touched me; it’s her fault.” He stood and started pacing the room. “If I could possibly make it happen, I’ll do anything.” He sat down, tears running down his cheeks, and cried.

Later, Vince called Karen on the phone. “I know there are some feelings between us, but it’s not going to work,” he said. She told him it did not matter, they were meant to be together. She was sure. “I’m nineteen years old and you are only fifteen,” Vince said. “It’s over. I’m going away. I’m never coming back.”


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