1. A First Long Kiss

1. A First Long Kiss

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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THE POETESS Part 1

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Rosie Pinkerton, or Pinky, was a poetess. She was a woman who wrote poetry, and she refused to call herself anything but a woman, so she was not a poet. She was a poetess, and proud of it.

She sat by her bay window that looked out onto a long lawned garden that terminated in a gurgling little stream (not natural but diverted by a Victorian landscape gardener so that it added beauty to the world as viewed from her cottage window), and sighed.

Once her cottage had been a bit of a ruin, left since the cessation of hostilities in 1945 because the owner had long been, one with the soils of Mother Earth and nobody had been bothered to with it until she and a group of like-minded teenagers had taken it for their own and repaired what they could, at least making the roof weather-proof and the broken windows whole before they turned to philosophy.

It was the done thing in the nineteen sixties when she had been seventeen and dreaming.

She and her housemates knew a thing or two. They knew how sad the world was. They were aware of how evil war was, especially the Vietnam war. They detested the way it was accepted that there was only one way to live, the old fashioned way, the fifty hour week for the menfolk and domestic servitude for their women. They wanted the freedom to dare to be different. So they were.

She’d been different since she was fifteen, when her mother had died one night in her sleep. Peacefully, they said, but she knew different. She’d heard the single scream followed by the silence as the precious woman’s heart had surged and ceased. Her dad was at work late and it wasn’t until the crack of dawn when he returned from the station where he minded the platforms and swore at interlopers looking for a free bench to sleep on that he found how cold she was.

Heart attack, and peacefully: that’s what doctor Crowder said, but she knew different. She’d heard that scream and there hadn’t been anything peaceful about it.

Dad had been distraught, and taken to drink. And it was that drink that took him, too, after a few weeks of mourning and shouting in the night that by hook or by crook he was going to join the love of his life. And join her he did, via the route of oblivion.

And her maiden aunt had moved in. She’d had her eyes on the place for as long as Rosie could remember, though it was quite clear that she looked on her as an unnecessary encumbrance

Fifteen, and on her own, basically unwanted and wandering home from school via a lane she didn’t know, she had come across the broken cottage. And sitting on a cracked old seat in a very overgrown garden was Roy.

Hi,” he said.

Hi,” she replied.

What do you make of this place then?”

She sniffed. “A bit the worse for wear,” she replied.

But Roy was a dreamer. “It’s paradise,” he said.

It’s a bit broken,” she said.

It’s paradise,” he repeated, “think of the hearts that have beaten in here! Think of the babies that have been born under its broken roof! And the folk who’d passed to the great beyond, breathed a last moment, and then flown. And all their lives, a mighty drama!”

I like you,” she murmured coyly, “I like you a lot.”

I like your long hair,” he admitted. He would have told her he liked all girls with really long hair but thought she might think it rather odd and probably impersonal.

I’ve been growing it for maybe five years,” she told him, “since I was a kid.”

Then he did the daftest thing. He reached out and touched the end of a golden tress, gently, carefully, gorgeously.

To think,” he murmured, “that this pretty inch of hair has seen a few kiddie birthdays. Let’s say, when you were ten and got that doll as a treat, and there was a party with balloons and cake…”

She smiled at him. “How did you know I got a doll when I was ten?” she asked “and were you spying when my dad blew up one long balloon and two round ones and they looked like a boy’s secret parts when he pinned them to the ceiling?”

He laughed. “My dad did that too,” he admitted. Then he changed the subject. “What do you do?” he asked.

I’m at school,” she said, “can’t you tell from my uniform?”

Of course,” he said, “but I didn’t mean where do you go. I mean what do you do inside your head? The secret you inside the public you. What goes on in your heart?”

Then she told him. “I’m a poet,” she said, “a girl poet, which makes me a poetess.”

So what rhymes did your lovely tresses make when you were ten?” he asked, gently curling that last inch of hair between his forefinger finger and his thumb.

I was a poetess back then,” she said, thoughtfully, rather liking the gentle way he touched her hair, “and I wrote some down in a little book. But then my mum died, and when she was buried I put my little book in her coffin with her, so that she’d always have a bit of me with her.”

That’s beautiful,” he said, “it’s what poetry’s for. Eternity, you know. What do I call you?”

That came out of the blue. “I’m Rosie,” she told him, “Rosie Pinkerton.”

Then I’ll call you Pinky,” he said, quite seriously.

So what do I call you?” she asked.

I’ve got a terrible name,” he grinned, “I was christened Roy. But I don’t look like a Roy, do I?”

She shook her head. “You look more like a Romulus or Remus,” she said, “old world, and creative.”

And supping the paps of a she-wolf?” he grinned.

Maybe,” she laughed.

But, my poetess, you’re not a she-wolf,” he told her.

And you’re not sucking any part of me,” she murmured, half wishing that he was.

So, Pinky, are we coming here again? To this old house? To talk of rhymes and dream of better days?”

If you like,” she conceded.

Tomorrow, at the same time?”

She nodded. “After school,” she whispered.

Then I might as well meet you at the school gate and walk here with you and your lovely golden hair...”

If you like.”

And you can write a poem just for me. Because we met here. Because we talked. Because of your golden hair.”

I might.”

And maybe, if you like, I’ll kiss you.”

Nobody had kissed her before, unless you count a parental peck. She was only fifteen, and never been romantically kissed!

I do like,” she said without thinking.

And when he kissed her the actual truth is at that precise moment her childhood ended and a whole new life dawned for her. Because it was no vanishing touch of lips on lips. No fleeting stroking of his mouth against her cheek. No. It was a kiss, all of his mouth and all of hers, and it did more to her than any single simple thing had ever done in all her life.

Then they parted, he watching her skirt swaying and her fragrant hair filled with loveliness as the poetess walked back down the old lane.

But he couldn’t hear her thoughts as she went, still savouring their single interminable kiss as she swung her satchel from a single shoulder, to the rhythm of the poem in her heart…

I think I know how much my dad loved my mum, and how it killed him when she died.” her unformed poem said, no rhyme, no rhythm, but plenty of reason.

And countless years later she sat by her bay window, and sighed at the memory of a single day, and the rhymes singing in her head.

© Peter Rogerson 07.03.21

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© 2021 Peter Rogerson


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Added on March 7, 2021
Last Updated on March 7, 2021
Tags: bay window, garden, stream, memories, boy, kiss


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

Writing