That Boy-Girl Thing

That Boy-Girl Thing

A Story by drcornelius
"

First shot at story writing. I'm a poet

"

That Boy-Girl Thing


Jake and the girl with the curly red hair, two seats ahead of him, had been riding the Lakeview Community Schools Bus #18 together since the start of the school year and he still didn’t know her name.  They weren’t in any classes together. What Jake did know was every time he saw her he got this very strange feeling deep in his gut. Kind of a cross between a sharp roller coaster dip and stage fright.  


He kept asking himself “Why does figuring out the boy-girl thing have to be so hard?”   It’s not that he didn’t understand about sex.  He was a teenager who lived on a farm. Farm kids now about sex.  The success of the farm depends upon reproduction. But sex is a lot easier to understand than the “boy-girl thing”.


This day was no different than any other.  She had the same curly red hair. He had that same familiar feeling.  The bus was travelling down the same gravel country road approaching her fieldstone farmhouse with the big purple lilac bushes in the front yard.  It would stop to let her off and he would ride for another five minutes or so until it stopped at his parent’s brick farmhouse with its two red barns and the white chicken coop.  This day would not be different unless he made it different!


He could get off the bus with her.  Wow! That would be awkward. She would think he was stalking her.  But, he could say “You are so beautiful.  I love your hair. I’ve wanted to meet you all year and just never took the initiative.  And besides, it’s a beautiful day and I don’t mind the three mile walk to my house. Meeting you is worth it.”  Yah.  Right.  As if he could ever pull that off.  That would just be so cool… and cool is what he was not.  Never had one of his friends accused him of being cool. There was not a cool bone in Jake’s stretched out stringy body.  


When the bus came to a stop and the doors opened, the red curly hair made its way down the aisle and Jake froze.  “Should I or shouldn’t I?  Can I or can’t I.”  Jake wasn’t aware of making a decision.  He only vaguely felt himself barrelling down the aisle before the doors slammed shut with their familiar hissing sound.  He launched himself down the two steps to the ground and came to rest firmly against a bookbag attached to the object of his dreams.  “I’m sorry”  he said.  “I am totally fucked” he thought.  


Regaining her balance, she turned around and gave him a two-paragraph look that said “what just happened, what are you doing, you don’t belong here, should I be frightened, are you injured, am I injured, did I get off the bus at the right stop?”


He gave her a one sentence look that said “Where can I hide?”  The rehearsed speech, the one the cool guy would have said, was left behind on the bus.  His only allies now were humiliation and panic. Not the best friends in a tight situation.  The best line he could come up with was “I’m going to try out for the track team and thought I would get off here and run the three miles home to start getting into shape.”  He looked for a reaction as she turned to go up her driveway and thought he heard something that sounded like “dumb jocks” but he couldn’t be sure.


Jake really wasn’t into running, or any other jock activity for that matter, but he didn’t have a choice.  If he started walking instead of running she would know he was lying. He set off on a brisk trot and wondered whether he would be able to keep it up long enough to get out of sight.  The bookbag was banging against his back with every step. He was overdressed for running on this warm spring day. Not the best circumstances for beginning a body conditioning program.  However, after a while, and much to his surprise, he found he was enjoying the rhythmic flow of his body with each step. He could feel the breeze caressing his face. His mind cleared of all thoughts.  There was only the road, the breeze, the movement of his legs and his breath coursing strongly to nourish every muscle in his body.


By the time he got home, the germ of an idea was sprouting somewhere within him.  He changed his clothes, went to the barn, forked down some hay for the cows, fed the chickens and went inside to do his homework.  By the time he was ready to go downstairs to supper he had pretty much made up his mind to try out for the track team. Trials were to be held this Friday and the first track meet was scheduled on a Saturday two weeks later.


Perhaps it was confidence born of his decision to try out for track.  Or perhaps it was the realization that, in spite of his clumsy move the previous afternoon, he couldn’t hide forever.  Regardless, Jake decided that the time had come to actually talk with the object of his embarrassment-affection-confusion.  At any rate, upon getting off the bus at school the next morning, Jake introduced himself, and apologized for nearly knocking her over.  Her reaction was, at best, ambiguous. She said “no harm.  I’m Gretta.”  As she walked away he noticed the book she was carrying “AP Calculus”   He thought “Hmmm I guess she’s not into jocks.”  


Jake spent the rest of the day in relative calm.  The running was a stress reducer and apologizing for the events of the previous day helped to reduce the flushing he felt in his face every time he thought about it. Jake boarded the school bus that afternoon before Gretta.  He sat in his usual seat next to the window. He watched as Gretta approached the bus with a couple of her friends. She stepped up into Bus 18 and proceeded down the aisle, seeming to avoid eye contact with Jake. Once again those familiar feelings in his gut.  “Does she know the real reason I got off the bus early?  Does she really think I’m a dumb jock? Does she think I’m a perv?”  Once again wondering “Why does figuring out the boy-girl thing have to be so complicated?”


The next couple of weeks proceeded pretty smoothly.  Jake upped his running game but still no progress with Gretta.  Just before his first competitive one-mile run, Jake was, once again, feeling that sensation in his gut.  A lot of people were in the stands on a perfect Saturday morning to watch the track meet. He was feeling the pressure of being an untried runner and also stage fright over the thought of performing in front of all of these people.  He didn’t scan the stands for familiar faces, thinking that would only increase the anxiety.


Finally the one-mile race was called.  The runners were lined up in heats of five runners each.  He had the second to the inside lane. Actually that was his preferred position.  He could pace from both sides. It felt more balanced than being on the inside or outside lane.  The sound of the starter’s pistol drove the anxiety completely from his body. It was like his first gravel road run on what he referred to as “Humiliation Day”.  All he could feel was the cinders under his feet, the breeze on his face, with each breath urging him forward in a fast but even pace. He was determined to run his own race… and to win it.


And, win it he did!  He didn’t hear the cheers.  He didn’t feel the other runners slapping him on the back.  The only thing he could feel was the euphoria of the run. Wondering why it took so long for him to figure out that he was a runner.  Kind of like “why does it take so long to figure out this boy-girl thing.”


Jake’s mom had to stop off at the feed store the next Monday morning so she gave Jake a ride to school.  He didn’t see Gretta during the school day. That afternoon he watched from his customary seat on the bus as Gretta once again approached with her friends.  Once again she walked down the aisle toward her seat. But this time she kept coming. When she arrived at the empty seat next to Jake she asked “Is this seat taken?”  Jake replied “Been saving it for you” but he was thinking “I still don’t get it.”


© 2018 drcornelius


Author's Note

drcornelius
I'm a poet. This is my first story. Your suggestions are encouraged. Thanks

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Featured Review

Great job. Clearly, your writing skills aren't limited to the creating of poems. You demonstrate the typical young male's romantic difficulties with accuracy. I recall running home from school so I could roll my broken scooter out to the corner, where I knew Vicky Brown would soon walk by. She took a different route, thankfully, and I never got to make a complete fool of myself. "Hey, Vicky, look. I've got a scooter, but it doesn't run."
Write more stories, my friend, and I shall read them.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

drcornelius

1 Year Ago

Thanks Sam. It was fun and I will be sticking to it.



Reviews

I'm sorry I haven't been doing much reviewing lately, so I've missed reading one of your well-crafted pieces. I can't believe this is your first story. This is written like a pro! I love the frisky attitude-laden imagination that you sprinkle thru-out. There are dozens of clever phrases that show us the scene with realism while also turning this into something of a comedy skit. I have to admit the narrator does not really sound like a 17-yo jock -- but rather a much more articulate older person imagining such a situation perhaps. And this works perfectly for your fun analysis of that boy-girl thing! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 7 Months Ago


My only suggestion, keep writing stories. You have captured that 'boy girl thing' perfectly.

I can only write poetry, (I hope,) too much of a butterfly mind. :))

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

drcornelius

1 Year Ago

Yes, I'm really getting into this story genre thing. Still writing songs, wrote one today. Also wr.. read more
Well DR, I think you nailed it. You have a great easy style of writing that I enjoy. I'm the opposite, a story teller that is a bit scared of poetry. I can identify perfectly (from a lifetime ago) with the excruciating feeling of anxiety these first moves invoked. I still squirm! You also have a nice gentle comic touch that shines through this. I also became and still am a runner (psychology?) The only slip i noticed was now should be know in para' 2.
Great start to a story telling career,
Regards,
Alan


Posted 1 Year Ago


drcornelius

1 Year Ago

Thanks Alan. That hat automatically makes you a storyteller in good standing.
Great job. Clearly, your writing skills aren't limited to the creating of poems. You demonstrate the typical young male's romantic difficulties with accuracy. I recall running home from school so I could roll my broken scooter out to the corner, where I knew Vicky Brown would soon walk by. She took a different route, thankfully, and I never got to make a complete fool of myself. "Hey, Vicky, look. I've got a scooter, but it doesn't run."
Write more stories, my friend, and I shall read them.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

drcornelius

1 Year Ago

Thanks Sam. It was fun and I will be sticking to it.
Well, for being your first story, I think you did an excellent job! It kept my interest, easy to read and a great story!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

drcornelius

1 Year Ago

Thanks Donna. I learned a lot

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Added on May 11, 2018
Last Updated on May 11, 2018

Author

drcornelius
drcornelius

Sarasota, FL



About
Poet, song writer, dream chaser, and retired psychologist. I thrive in the mountains of northern New Jersey during the summer and Sarasota Florida during the winter. more..

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